What Are the 4 Requirements for a Household to Qualify for Section 8
Section 8 is a government subsidized housing program created to help assist low-income families afford safe and clean housing by covering a portion of their rent.
The main goal of the program is to help families afford a rental until of their choosing in the private sector. There are qualifications a household must meet in order to be considered an eligible applicant for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher by a local Public Housing Authority also known as a PHA.
These are the 4 main Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Qualifications
1. Type of Household
First, applicants must describe their family status. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of a family.
According to HUD, a family is described as one or more persons who live together. Surprisingly, there is no blood relations required to be considered a family. Individuals, single people, roommates or parents with children can all be considered a family by HUD.
The word household might better describe HUD’s definition of a family.
Senior or Elderly Household
If one or more members of the family or household is over the age of 62 and listed as head of household on the application for a Housing Choice Voucher the family would then be considered a Elderly or senior household.
If one of more persons listed as the head of the household is disabled, the family would then be considered a disabled household.
Applicants who are considered a Family
If none of the head of the households are disabled or elderly (over 62 years of age) on the section 8 housing choice voucher application, then the household would be considered a family.
2. Financial Status
Since the Section 8 program was created to help assist low-income families afford rent, qualifying for a housing choice voucher is largely determined by a family’s income level in relation to the local area median income.
There are three basic levels that HUD instructs local PHA’s to use when determining applicant’s income level.
- Extremely low-income: Households who apply for section 8 housing choice vouchers that have an income level that is 30% of the area’s median income levels.
- Very Low-income: are applicants whose income is 50% of the area’s median income.
- Low-income: are applicants with income that equals 80% if the area’s median income levels.
The size of the family on a section 8 housing choice voucher application will greatly impact which income level the PHA assigns to the application.
For example, a family who has multiple adults in the household and earns 40k a year of combined income would be considered to have lower income than a family of one adult who earns $30k a year.
Also as per directed by HUD a majority of section 8 resources will be given to applicants who are considered extremely low-income.
What constitutes a family’s income?
Basically any income that should be reported on taxes will be considered income by the PHA and impact the families income leve.
Such as salaries, commissions, tips, investments, inheritances, unemployment, insurance claims, law suit settlements, retirement, social security, disability, welfare checks, workers comp or winnings etc.
Only adults on the application will need to report their income.
3. Qualification Citizenship Status
You must be a US citizen or have eligible immigration status qualify for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.
If you believe your family does have eligible immigration status for Section 8 then you will also need to follow these steps for the local PHA for verification.
A signed document declaring that you have eligible immigration.
Immigration and Naturalization Service documents.
Agree and sign a release of your INS information to be used for the purpose of determining your section 8 eligibility.
4. Qualification, Background, Rental and Criminal History.
Automatic disqualifications are:
Family members that have been convicted of drug related crimes and evicted from a property in the last three years will be determined as ineligible for section 8.
Any family members convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines in subsidized housing are ineligible.
Any family member whose crimes require a lifelong registration as a sex offender. Each PHA will conduct their own verification interviews and apply their own qualification process under HUD’s guidelines to section 8 housing choice voucher applicants.
It is important to contact the local PHA where you wish to apply to figure out more specifics about the application process.