Employment Resources

Social Security Resources and Programs

The PASS Plan

PASS is a work incentive program designed to help people receiving SSI or Social Security Disability to return to work. PASS stands for Plan for Achieving Self Support. The PASS is a plan you write up, usually using Social Security’s form, and usually with help from a counselor or advocate. This plan says what your work goal is and how you plan to achieve this goal. The plan also lists if you need to buy something to achieve your goal, how long that it will take, and what it will cost. The work goal can be any kind of work, part or full time, work from home or away from home, working for wages or starting your own business. However you must be able to convince Social Security that the goal is something that you could realistically expect to accomplish, and that it will generate adequate income for you.

The PASS plan lets you put income which would otherwise reduce, eliminate, or make you ineligible for an Social Security Income check, such as part or all of an Social Security Disability Insurance or RDSI check, or wages into a separate bank account to be spent for the things you need to go to work that are written into the plan. This money will no longer affect how much your SSI check is. The amount of money that goes into the PASS depends on how much of this kind of income you have available to put in it. The things you pay for must be related to the goal. Some examples are: training or tuition, a car or van for transportation, a computer or tools and supplies of your trade or business, day care for a child while you work or attend school, adaptive technology, etc.

After you write the PASS, you submit it, with supporting documentation, to the PASS reviewers in your region. A PASS must be approved by Social Security before it takes effect.

In addition to enabling an individual to become Social Security Income eligible by sheltering income in a PASS. In Montana, unlike some states, the individual also becomes Medicaid eligible, because Medicaid goes with SSI.




Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program

The ultimate goal of the new WIPA projects is to support the successful employment of beneficiaries with disabilities.

What is a WIPA?

  • Local organizations that have arranged with Social Security to provide work incentive and planning services for Social Security SSDI and SSI beneficiaries.
  • These local organizations have people who have been specially trained to help you try and find suitable employment.
  • There are local organizations in most of the 50 states, DC and the U.S. territories.
  • In areas where a local organization is not yet available you can get services through a toll-free number — see below.

What can they do for me?

  • Answer questions about the SSA work incentives.
  • Help you create a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS).
  • Plan how work incentives and other federal, state, and local assistance plans can help you return to work.
  • Answer your questions about the Ticket to Work.
  • Help you find an Employment Network.

How is the WIPA program different from the Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) program?
Benefit Specialists under the WIPA program are referred to as Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICS). These coordinators focus on improved community partnerships. One of the ways in which this will be done is by conducting periodic Work Incentives Seminars (WISE) for beneficiaries with disabilities. At these seminars beneficiaries meet directly with WIPAs, Employment Networks (EN), and public and private community-based organizations. Each seminar is expected to last approximately 2 hours. At these seminars beneficiaries will learn about available work incentives and job supports needed to either assign their Ticket or pursue other employment options.

How do I get in touch with the project closest to me?
In many states these services are provided by one organization. Some states have more than one project. SSA maintains a list of WIPAs on its website. Select your state from the list and then find the county where you live in that state. The project is shown below the list of counties it serves. Or go directly to Montana sites here.

What if there aren’t any local organizations in my area?
SSA has arranged for work incentives planning and assistance services for beneficiaries who reside in the areas where there is currently no WIPA project. This service will be provided by an experienced WIPA project, Imagine Enterprises, in Texas (known as the “Transitional WIPA”), via a toll-free telephone line.

The toll-free number is 866-426-1132. It is now in operation; the hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.


Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Main page
Understanding SSI Guide
Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool
SSI Eligibility Requirements
SSI Application Process and Applicant Rights
SSI Work Incentives

Social Security Disability
Social Security Main page
Child Disability Benefits
Disability Home Planner
Qualifying for Benefits
Apply for Disability Benefits
Online Appeals System

Forms and Publications
Social Security Office Locator