What Does Section 8 Consider as Household Income?
A lot of people tend to get confused or overwhelmed when they think about what their household income is and how to figure out what qualifies as Household Income. I tried to summarize it for you here so hopefully it won’t be as overwhelming. Section 8 considers the following as Household Income:
- Wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses and/or any other
compensation for personal services prior to payroll deductions. This applies to
all household members over 18 years old.
- Recurrent payments from Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits.
- Payments such as unemployment, disability, worker’s compensation, and severance pay.
- WELFARE ASSISTANCE, including payments made under other programs funded, separately or jointly, by federal, state, or local governments which are not excluded by Federal Statutes.
- Allowances including alimony and child support payments, and regular contributions or gifts received from organizations or anyone that doesn’t live in the home.
- Net income from operation of a business or profession; interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property.
- All regular pay, special pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces (Except Hostile Fire Pay).
- Any earned income tax credit to the extent it exceeds income tax liability.
Section 8 also takes into consideration your assets. These assets Include:
- Stocks, bonds, Treasury bills, certificates of deposit, money market accounts
- Individual retirement and Keogh accounts
- Retirement and pension funds
- Cash held in savings and checking accounts, safe deposit boxes, homes, etc.
- Cash value of whole life insurance policies available to the individual before death
- Equity in rental property and other capital investments
- Personal property held as an investment
- Lump sum receipts or one-time receipts
- Mortgage or deed of trust held by an applicant
- Assets disposed of for less than fair market value.
How Do I Calculate My Household Income Compared to My Area’s Median Income for Section 8?
The amount of rent you will pay requires the landlord to estimate the Annual Income your household expects to receive.
Generally, the landlord uses your circumstances at the moment he evaluates you to anticipate your income, meaning that your income in that moment will be estimated as your income for the next 12 months. But, that’s not always the case, like for example, if you have evidence that your income source will expire before the 12 months are over.
Median Household Income is the income amount that divides your area into two groups. Half of the group has income above the median amount and the other half is below the median amount. Medians are developed for each metropolitan area, parts of some metropolitan areas and each non-metropolitan county so they vary depending on where you plan to live.
How To Find Your Area’s Median Income for Section 8
If you would like to find your area’s Median Income for section 8 you can click here and follow these simple steps:
- Select the state of the Median Income you would like to know
- Select the County
- Press “View County Calculations”
And voilà!!! You should have a full page of info on the Median Income of the County you selected. Once you know your area’s Median Income you can compare where your income falls in relation to that specific area.
Your household income must fall within certain percentages that are determined by the Area Median Income (AMI) to be eligible for Section 8. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines the income limits based on the percentage area’s Median Income level each year and divides it into three groups:
- Extremely Low Income – Incomes at or below 30% of the Area Median Income
- Very Low Income – Incomes at or below 50% of the Area Median Income
- Low Income – Incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income
To calculate where your household’s income percent is in relation to the AMI you take your income and divide it by the AMI.
For example if your a family of 4 and your household income is $41,100 and the AMI of your area for a household of 4 is $79,800 (Area Median/family Income).
Take your income $41,100 divide it by the AMI and you get .5150…
So in this example this household incomes is 50% of the AMI.
The PHA would then place this household’s Section 8 Voucher application on the waiting list giving it priority to housing resources after extremely low income applicants.
Can A Single Person Get Section 8 Housing?
Yes, a single person can qualify for section 8 housing. It may sound confusing, I know, because of how the Public Housing Authority (PHA) defines and uses the terms “family” or “household”, but if you take a quick look at the guidelines, they state that a single individual, displaced or not, disabled or not and elderly or not may qualify if you meet the requirements set by the PHA and HUD.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on applying for Section 8 as a single person. Here’s what you need to know:
- You must be 18 years or older
- You must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- You can’t rent a unit with 2 or more bedrooms
- Calculate your income and make sure it’s less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) of the area you’re applying to.
- Having a criminal record can make it a bit harder to receive housing, but it doesn’t automatically disqualify you
What Happens with My Section 8 Voucher if I Get Divorced?
If you and your spouse live together in Section 8 housing and are planning on getting a divorce, it’s important that the remaining “household” members still qualify under the income limit since it may be possible that you, or they, do not qualify after the adjustment is done.
It is possible you may also both qualify, if your incomes are both under the limit. The PHA does take in account some factors that could determine who stays or is disqualified from the program. Some of these are:
- Domestic or dating violence
- The interests of minors, ill, elderly or disabled “household” members
If you’re both on a waiting list together and haven’t been placed yet, one of you must be taken off the application.