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Social Security Q&A Part 12

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Question: What is a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)?

Answer: A PASS helps Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability beneficiaries return to work. It is a written plan of action for getting a particular kind of job or starting a business. In it, you identify:

  • The job or business (this is your work goal);
  • The steps you will take and the things you will need in order to achieve your work goal (for example: education or training, transportation, child care, or assistive technology);
  • The money you will use to pay for these things (this may be any income (other than SSI benefits) or assets, such as Social Security benefits, wages from a current job, or savings); and
  • A timetable for achieving your goal.

For more information, visit our publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Question: If I retire at age 62, will I be eligible for Medicare?

Answer: No. Medicare starts when you reach 65. If you retire at 62, you may be able to continue medical insurance coverage through your employer or purchase it from a private insurance company until you become eligible for Medicare. For more information see our publication, Medicare, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Question: My brother died recently and left me some money. Will this inheritance affect my SSI benefits?

Answer: We consider the money inherited from your brother as income for the month you receive it. That could make you ineligible for SSI that month, depending on the amount of the inheritance. If you keep the money into the next month, it becomes a part of your resources. You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources and remain eligible for SSI. You should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number, 1-800-325-0778) and report the inheritance. Representatives can tell you how the inheritance might affect your SSI eligibility. You can call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Find out more about how income and resources affect SSI benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi.

Question: How can I get proof of my benefits to apply for a loan?

Answer: If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online through your personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This letter is sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter.” You even can select the information you want included in your online benefit verification letter.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov