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How to fill out form SSA-545

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses Form SSA-545 for those who people who are disabled but want to become self-sufficient. The program, referred to as PASS, allows people on Social Security disability to try to obtain education or funds needed to start a business with the goal of eventually getting off Social Security disability benefits.

Here’s how you fill out the Part I of the form:

  • Section A: You need to show how your plan will likely result in employment which allows you to be self-sufficient. You’ll want to be as specific as you can on this and use extra paper if you need it. You will also need to indicate if your plan involves job coaching.
  • Section B: Describe the activities you will eventually need to do on the job. It’s important to be realistic here regarding what your disabilities would hinder you from doing.
  • Section C: Simply tell why you want to do this type of work. There is no wrong answer as long as you’re being realistic.
  • Section D: Indicate whether the type of work you want to do requires any special licensure.
  • Section E: Give a realistic estimate of the income you expect to achieve.
  • Section F: If you plan on working for an employer, leave this blank. If you plan on being self-employed, you’ll need to make a strong case for why this option will work better for you given your disabilities.
  • Section G: If this is your first time submitting a PASS to the SSA, check “no.” Otherwise, check “yes” and fill out the information requested as completely and truthfully as you can.
  • Section H: If you’ve been approved for and already assigned your Ticket to Work, list the pertinent information.

Some parts of Part II are simple yes or no questions. Others take some explaining. Here’s what you need to know about Part II of the Form:

  • Section A: List all of your disabilities, just as you did when you claimed Social Security disability benefits.
  • Section B: List how your disabilities affect you in your daily activities. You’ll want to be as detailed as possible on this. It’s important that you make a strong case on the second part of this section, which asks how you will perform your duties despite your disabilities.
  • Section C: List any kind of work experience you’ve had. Include volunteer experience and anything else that might make the case that you are capable of doing the work you are proposing to do.
  • Section D: This section asks for your basic educational information. Check the boxes that apply. If you have a degree, list the school and type of degree.
  • Section E: This section asks for job training. Fill it out completely for any vocational training you have. Use a separate sheet of paper if needed.
  • Section G: If you have no degree, leave this blank. If you have a college degree, you’ll need to make a strong case why the additional training you’re asking for will allow you to work but the education you already have won’t.

Part III details your plan in a step by step format. It’s important to be thorough when you fill this out. It’s also important to set realistic goals.

Part IV deals with expenses you expect the SSA to cover to help you achieve your goals. You will want to be very specific about why you need each of the things you are asking for. If you are asking for something you already have (i.e., a newer computer or different vehicle) you’ll need to make a particularly strong case for why the equipment you already have won’t suffice.

Part V deals with the investment you plan to make in your own plan. Answer questions truthfully. It will help your case if you are willing to invest money you’ve saved yourself or use equipment you already have when practical to do so.

If you developed your PASS plan yourself, you can skip most of Part VI. If you had help, fill out the requested information.

You can share any pertinent information which doesn’t fit in the other sections in Part VII. It’s generally a good idea to make remarks of one sort or another to help build the case that your plan will result in your self-sufficiency.

It’s important to read Part VIII. You must check all applicable boxes and sign and date your plan.