Requirements for a Section 8 Household 

 July 1, 2020

By  Ashley T

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.

section 8 requirements

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.

Disabled 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.

About the author 

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.

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  1. Hi I am in desperate need of a place to live. I am a 69 year old Senior. I don't know how to apply for Section 8 or subsidized senior housing. I need someone to help me. I will be homeless by Dec. 16,2021.
    Can someone direct me to where I can get the application. I am living in Odenton, ND

    1. Hello Virginia,

      To apply for section 8 housing program, an application form is needed to be submitted by you at the local housing authority office, to check for available offices near you, click here.

  2. Please HELP ME with SIGNING UP for

    1. Kindly visit the PHA office closest to you to submit an application for the Section 8 housing voucher. Also, if you are lost on how to get to a PHA office, check the HUD website for a full list on information for each office around the country

    1. Hello shane,

      Please apply for section 8 housing voucher by visiting the PHA office. Also, read through the article on housing assistance for single moms to get other information on affordable housing.

  3. I need to get on the waiting list for HUD Iam 64 yrs old my only means of income are social security survivors benefits of 969.00 per month. I have no evictions, no criminal history
    Please help me I don't know what else to do.
    Sincerely Sally

    1. To get on the waiting list you would first of all submit an application for section 8 with the local housing authority. You can do that by checking here for a list of office in your area to submit an application.

  4. I’m so dame stress I apply for housing section8 voucher and I get Slam with 100 emails and even saying I’m approve to call my local housing I don’t they they say I’m not on waiting list they can find me or application why??????? What the hell going on I’m homeless waiting don’t have a place to live I stay here there and not getting anywhere

  5. In February 2022 I must move out of my Shared Housing ( $600.00 a month).My home owner passed away & the family wants to sell house.. I'm retired on Social Security $982.00 a month.. All I see in Portland are Studios going for $1500.00 a month… I've lived in Shared Living for last 8 yes. I'd love to live by myself…I would like to get subsidized from the Goverment if possible…thank you for your time..Doug Sera

  6. I'd like to apply for a low income home my last home was in long beach ca it looks like a good plan or program to look into

    1. Hi Melvin,

      To apply for low-income housing program administered by the HUD, visit the local housing authority to submit an application.

  7. My daughter is collecting social sexcurity disability cheks as she is permnanenemty disabled and unable to work. She is currently in a Section 8 duplex, and the landlord has raised her rent twice since August, it now being $577.00/month. With her water and electricity and food, that puts ker over the amount she gets /month. What canwe do?

    1. Hi Jan,

      You should contact the PHA office responsible for the approval of the section 8 voucher and state your complaint or ask for a change in apartment

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