If you’re applying for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, you may be wondering, how long the housing assistance will last.
The short answer is: there is no time limit on receiving Section 8 housing assistance. As long as the tenant’s eligibility is not impacted in ways that would disqualify them from the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program.
A few of the more common examples of situations that could negatively impact a recipient and remove them from the Housing choice Voucher program include:
- Providing false information to the housing authority.
- Committing a drug related crime or violent crime.
- Failing to pay rent.
- Failing to pay utilities.
- Failing to comply with required recertification.
- Failure to comply with unit inspections.
- Not residing in the unit or allowing someone live in the unit that was not part of the approved Section 8 application.
- Increase in household income making the recipient no longer within the income limits set by the local PHA.
Can You Get Section 8 Without a Job?
The simple answer to this question is yes. If you do not have a job, you can still qualify for the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program.
If you have no income, your local public housing authority may deem you eligible to have the full amount of your rent covered by your Housing Choice Voucher.
If your income changes or you lose your job after you have already been approved for the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, you should notify the Public Housing Authority.
If you have no job, and are not approved for full rent payment by Section 8, you must comply with paying your portion of the rent each month, or you can be removed from the program.
The same is true if you lose your job, or your income decreases. A decrease in income will not automatically decrease your portion of the rental payment.
But it is important to be proactive in updating your PHA about any change to your income. Your PHA could deem you eligible to receive more assistance if your income was negatively impacted at no fault of your own.
If you are removed from the Section 8 program due to non-payment of rent, there may be a waiting period before you are allowed to apply again.
It is important to contact your local Public Housing Authority about any situations that impact your ability to pay your portion of rent. A PHA may give you 30 days to obtain employment before terminating your Housing Voucher.
The same is true if you start off with no job, and are approved for the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, and then later obtain a job, or your income increases.
You are also required to report this to the housing authority. If the increase in income determines that you no longer qualify for Section 8, you may still be able to stay in your home, but probably will be required to pay the entire rent amount (meaning without the voucher).
So to keep it simple, yes, you can qualify for Section 8 with no job, but any changes in income need to be reported to the local Public Housing Authority.
Can a Single Person Qualify for Section 8?
A single person can apply for Section 8 housing. Although confusing because the HUD talks about families applying for Section 8, they define a family as one or more persons in the same household.
There are a few key things to remember if you’re a single person applying for Section 8, such as:
- 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
[su_highlight background=”#deffe9″]The applicant for the Section 8 Housing Voucher Programs required to be 18, and have legal status in this country, as well as meet the income and other requirements.[/su_highlight]
Can You Lease A Car While on Section 8?
There are no rules in the Section 8 guidelines that state that you may not lease or buy a car while receiving Section 8 housing. You may lease or buy a car as long as you have reported your full income and still have enough money left over.
What Can Disqualify Me from Section 8 Housing?
The most important bit of information I can give you to not be disqualified from section 8 housing is to be completely truthful when filling out your documentation. Don’t try to hide any assets from the PHA because they will eventually find out and you will lose your benefits and can get into serious legal trouble. Other reasons you may be disqualified from Section 8 housing are:
- If you’re “household” income exceeds the limit set by the PHA
- If in the last 5 years, any member of your “household” has been evicted
- If anyone in your “household” has had assistance terminated by the PHA for any reason
- If anyone in your “household” owes the PHA money
- If you’re on any state lifetime sex offender registry
- Recent convictions (this is up to the case worker and depends on the crimes committed)
- Providing false Information
- IF anyone in “household” commits fraud, bribery, drug or violence related crimes while receiving Section 8 housing assistance
If you have been arrested but not convicted, you have a better chance at qualifying than someone who has been convicted of a crime. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or violence, that may put other residents at risk, you might have a hard time qualifying as well.
What Can I Do If My Section 8 Application is Denied?
If your section 8 application was denied, you will receive a letter in the mail letting you know about their decision, why is was decided, the amount of time you have to appeal and the manner in which you can appeal. You can also send in a letter to your local PHA office asking that they reconsider their decision and that you would like an informal hearing or review.
It’s very important that if you would like to appeal, you do so in the time frame stated in the letter you received. After appealing, if you lose, you can’t appeal again unless the PHA specifically provides you with another hearing. The last option, if denied again, would be a court case in which you would have to convince a Judge that the PHA’s decision was unjust.