Section 8 Household Income

keys with a house

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 nonmetropolitan 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:

  1. Select the state of the Median Income you would like to know
  2. Select the County
  3. 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.

Income Percentages

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 give you a bit of an example, if your household consists of 3 people and you earn $25,000 a year or less it is considered very low income, while another family of 3 that earns $15,000 a year or less is considered extremely low income.

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 noncitizen
  • 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
  • Stalking
  • The interests of minors, ill, elderly or disabled “household” members
  • Income

If you’re both on a waiting list together and haven’t been placed yet, one of you must be taken of the application.

By Ashley T

As a professional writer, I enjoy researching Benefit Programs and writing articles and guides that are easy to follow for those who are in need of assistance.

56 comments

    1. The Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness by helping homeless individuals and families move into transitional and permanent housing. To apply, contact your local administering agency. To find your local agency go to the PHA contact information page. For more information about this program go to the HUD website

  1. Can you please help me I keep getting emails about my emergency section 8 voucher I’ve been on waiting list i applied last year cuz I’m homeless but its confusing I’ve called the housing department told me ill receive a letter

    1. Housing authorities don’t send out emails, make phone calls or send text messages promoting their Section 8 programs. Individual housing agencies manage their own Section 8 programs and you should contact them directly to find out your status on the waiting list

  2. I have had my application here on file in Minneapolis Minnesota for housing I have been homeless since I put the application in it’s been over 5 years what can I do about it now and I’ve been calling trying to see where I’m at and I’m also working been at my now for a year

    1. Hi Etta,

      Please keep contacting where you registered to know your waitlist status. Also apply to other PHAS to widen your chances of getting housing faster.

    1. Hi David,

      Contact your state Public Housing Authority. This is quite important because the public housing authority is an administrative body that is saddled with the duty of providing you with information on how to apply for public housing. They would also help you in your application process.

    1. Hi, in order to check your Section 8 waiting list, you need to contact the PHA office where your application was submitted or you can also check online through the HUD website.

  3. Larry B., I’m 57 and homeless I’m disabled because I was hit by truck while crossing street. Was afraid of freezing to death so went to psychology ward at hospital everyone there0 went to nursing home when my turn they said they can’t help me. So I left I’m back on streets and no meds. Won’t last long!

    1. Hi Larry,

      Am so sorry to hear about this. Kindly fill out an emergency Section 8 housing assistance form on the HUD website if you can’t visit a physical PHA office.

  4. I too have been on the list. I re I’ve a letter a while back. But have yet to hear any current assistance. Now where on last dime, in hotel room today is last day with disabled elderly female and nowhere to go.

    1. Kindly check back with the PHA office you submitted your application in order to monitor the process. You can also check your Section 8 waiting list status by clicking here.

  5. I qualify for section 8 and low income housing, however it is impossible to get in. I have been waiting for over 2 years and I filled emergency. Wonder how long it will take. WAITING
    Sincerely
    Pamala

    1. Due to the increase in the number of applications received each year, the waiting list for Section 8 may take several years. However, get in touch with the PHA office you submitted your application to monitor the process of getting approved faster.

    1. We don’t usually offer assistance in searching for a house or apartment for Section 8 but you can speak with the PHA office if there is any form of assistance that can be rendered to you.

  6. Hi my name is joslyn dodge I took the liberty in downloading documents pertaining vouchers information. I would like for a representative to call 757-920-9815 is my cell phone number. jdodge930@gmail.com is my email address.

  7. I need help to. I qualified for a voucher,but now need to find a place to live. They don’t help you at TVHRA. I’m homeless and disabled.

    1. Hi Kim,

      Kindly check with the local housing authority for any further assistance which can be rendered to you.

  8. Been homeless with my son going on a year now and keep hitting brick walls trying to get section 8 (emergency) flopping from couch to couch ain’t cool with a child (15) ssi just aint enough to afford anything!!

    1. Am sorry to hear about that, however, getting Section 8 can be sometimes delayed due to the long list of applications which are received each year. You can read our article on housing assistance for single moms in order to get other information on other housing assistance for yourself.

  9. Hi. so im in desperate need of housing for my 2 boys and i not sure how to go about it. i believe im on the waiting list but that route seems impossible. i have come down to my last resort and we are sleeping in my vehicle sad to say that isnt considered homeless. im not asking for someone to bend over backwards but rather asking to throw me a bone. im tiered of getting the run around and leaving messages with no returned phone calls. please any type info would be appreciated thanks and god bless you and yours.

    1. Hello, you should consider getting housing assistance for single moms. To get more information about that, you can read through our article on housing assistance for single moms here to get faster housing response.

  10. My inspection was sch ruled for the 25of February they said is was wrote down in her notes but didn’t put in computer so inspection man didn’t know anything about it.could som one ply call me about this serious matter I’ve been homeless since November anddisable my phone number is 4697350782 and9033531433 I am currently residing in Longview texas.the caseworker or move officer is ayanna richardson

    1. Hi,

      please contact your housing authority and state your claims in order to get faster housing assistance.

  11. I have applied for the HCV, the 211 and the 801 myself and my grandson who both are disabled and I’m elderly. We are just waiting for our turn to come up. Thank you for all the info you send me

    Valerie Martin
    valeriemartin639@gmail.com

    1. To find out if you have already been approved for a housing voucher, kindly check with the PHA office where you initially submitted your application to find out your status or check online.

    1. To get housing assistance, you have to submit an application with the PHA office closest to you and you can also do this by going on the HUD website here to submit your application.

    1. To find out if your application was submitted rightly, please confirm with the PHA office where you initially submitted your application.

    1. Thank you very much for your thoughtful feedback, we hope to keep giving you good information about housing assistance.

  12. This is my last time of writing this text
    I’m looking for help out of this shit hole I live in. I have been in here for over 18 years and no one has done anything to this place except collect rent. They have never done anything to this place even fix the roof that has leaked for years. My windows leak and water comes in the walls where I hung pictures( which I can no longer can do) . They are all messed up from water leakage and no one cares. I need to find a house I can move to but I can’t do it with the money I get from SOCIAL SECURITY to buy one so I’m asking for your help and hud but I don’t know how? Can someone please please help me now. Karen Rice

    1. Am so sorry to hear about this. To get started on filling out your section 8 housing assistance form, kindly visit the nearest PHA office and you can also submit an application online through the HUD website.

    1. Hello, please submit an application for section 8 with the PHA office or submit an application online.

  13. I’ve been on the list since 2012 and I update my information every year I was wondering why haven’t they’ve gotten hold of me cause I haven’t heard nothing since 2012 besides updated my information if you can get back to me and give me some kind of you know how do I check the list or how do I call them cause I never get the phone number I would appreciate it thank you your name is Johnny

  14. I have submitted for my guide. I assume that I registered ,when I sent for guide. IAM on disability, ssi my income is considered very low income. Just need to know what to do next.

    1. Hi, if you have correctly filled and submitted your application form. All you have to do is wait for the approval. This can actually take lots of time but you can keep checking back with the PHA office and update your profile whenever necessary.

  15. I am keeping my two grandchildren a boy and a girl my daughter and her husband are locked up and I am all I got so I’m lost

    1. The Section 202 program helps expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation. To apply, please visit your local PHA.

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