How Can I Check My Section 8 Status? 

 January 5, 2021

By  Ashley T

I know the wait can be a bit stressful, since it usually takes them anywhere from weeks to months for applications to be processed, but you can check on your Section 8 status by contacting your local Housing Offices or PHA.

Section 8 is an affordable housing voucher that is made available for low-income families and individuals, people living with disabilities, and the elderly to provide safe and affordable housing. In many places in the US, there is usually a higher demand for affordable housing than what the government can provide funding for.

 This increase in the number of applications each year is usually the cause of the long wait-list that may take up to several years for approval by the PHA. 

The Section 8 waiting list takes a much longer time in the cities than in the small towns. Depending on the emergency needs of the applicants, the PHA may determine if one is eligible to be placed on an emergency waiting list to get a faster response. Once you have qualified and have submitted the application form for Section 8 housing assistance, you are placed on a waiting list.

green tick section 8 status check

When placed on the waitlist, it is very important to be in continuous contact with the local public housing authority to confirm if you are still on the list and also monitor the progress of your application. Applicants can also check their application status online by visiting the HUD website or by visiting a local PHA closest to them. Applicants can also visit waitlistcheck.com to check their waiting status online.

Why is My Section 8 Taking So Long?

The application for Section 8 may take several years before approval is granted because of the increased number of applications received each year and the limited number of units available. Applicants are usually placed on a waiting list for Section 8 until there is available housing to rent. 

Some families and individuals may be placed on an emergency waiting list to prioritize their housing needs depending on their situation, but this is rare and not a constant occurrence. To get housing assistance quickly, some applicants submit their applications to several PHA offices to be placed on multiple waiting lists for a fast response. 

Ways to Get Priority on the Wait-list

For applicants to be approved for the Section 8 housing voucher, they are placed on a waiting list, which can take up to several years before a response is given. You may be qualified to be placed on the priority wait-list if you are in one or more of the situations below.

Extremely Low Income

To apply for Section 8, you would need to verify your income status together with your family as well. The Section 8 voucher is available for extremely low-income households, very low-income households, and low-income households. Priority will be given to the households with extremely low-income households on the waitlist.

Been Homeless

Those who are experiencing homelessness currently are placed on the priority waiting list as a result of ending homelessness. Check with your PHA office to understand the eligibility requirements for the waitlist for the homeless.

Those residing in shelters

Section 8 is made available for low-income families and to take people off the streets into safe housing. If the applicant is living in a shelter currently, he or she is eligible to be placed on the priority waiting list for Section 8.

Have a Disability

Households with a member with a disability are given priority on the waiting list, especially if the current housing situation is not appropriate for the medical condition of the disabled member.

The elderly

The US considers the elderly to be part of the vulnerable population and prioritizes households with an elderly person over the age of 62 years for affordable housing.

Be a US Veteran

US veterans are particularly prioritized in finding assistance for safe and affordable housing. HUD provides housing assistance for an easy transition for US veterans from their past military life to civilian life.

What to Do While on the Waiting List

While on the waiting list for Section 8, there are some things you can do to make your application process very active instead of just literally waiting. First, ensure you keep track of your application by being in constant contact with your PHA office and also keep records of your communication between yourself and any agent in the PHA for reference purposes.

Be responsive to any calls and messages sent in by the PHA office to allow them to know that there is still someone interested in the program. Should there be any change in address or phone number, it is very important to update the PHA office about that for your application not to be thrown out. Should there also be a change in income level or a member of the family develops a disability or becomes classified as elderly, you need to inform your PHA office.

 Also, it is okay to apply to multiple PHA offices and be placed on different waiting lists to increase your chances of being awarded the housing voucher.  Sometimes, certain PHA offices may stop receiving applications because they are full, and the waitlist may take several years before it gets to your turn.

Instead of waiting around, you can apply to other PHA offices to hasten things for you on the waiting list. You can also find groups of people on the waiting list like yourself to stay in the know about recent reports and also support each other with extra information.

Lastly, being placed on the waiting list would require a lot of patience from the applicant before a response can be gotten, and this can lead to you waiting for many years. Try not to give up but stay positive all through the application process.

What Should I Do After I Apply to A Waitlist?

After applying and being put on a Section 8 housing waitlist, there are a few steps you should follow:

  1. If you were placed on a waiting list, you should keep a record on hand of important information you might need, like for example: Any log-in information if you’re applying online, which Housing Office you applied with, the date you applied, where you are on the waiting list (if the information is available) and any confirmation number you are given.
  2. You can estimate how long of a wait you may be facing by contacting the Housing Office you applied with, but if they don’t help you, you can ask for access to their Annual Plan, which has information about the current number of households on the waiting list and their office’s turn over rate. Unfortunately, sometimes this document isn’t easily available and can only give you a rough estimate of your wait.
  3. One of the most important steps is to keep checking your waiting list status, be it by phone, the Housing office or online. Keep all your information up to date, including your contact information and any changes in your income. If a notice is sent to you that requires a response, do so as soon as possible. If they do not receive your response in the timeframe they stipulated, you will be removed from the waiting list and lose your spot. Keep in mind that if you applied online, you should constantly check your email for any messages from your Housing office since they will continue to contact you via email.
  4. When your turn on the waiting list comes around, you will be required to go to a  “Final Eligibility Review”  that will be in person. They may ask for it to just be yourself (the applicant), but they may also ask for the entire “household” or “household” adults. You MUST attend at the set date and time or you will risk being removed from the list.
  5. Last, but not least, after you receive your Section 8 Housing voucher, you can start searching for your new home!

What Should I Do to Make Sure the PHA Can Reach Me?

Many people lose they’re Section 8 housing vouchers, or their spot on the waiting list, because the PHA fails to contact them. This usually happens when you change your phone number or when you don’t check your email or post mail regularly. This is a very important step on your Section 8 Housing journey!

If you change your phone number or email, contact the Housing office you applied with immediately and let them know of these changes or of the best way to contact you.

Where is My Local PHA Office Located?

Each State has many PHA offices you can visit or contact, but it might be easier to contact the ones closest to you or the area you would like to live in. If you would like a list of the PHA offices in your state, you can visit the HUD website or press here.

Then its as simple as selecting your state on the list or map (they have both) and scrolling down until you find the office you would like to contact or visit.

What if I Lose My Job While on Section 8?

As with everything else on Section 8, the best thing to do to keep receiving your benefits is to keep them informed about everything.

Yes, you need some income to be able to pay for your portion of the rent, but if you lose or quit your job, the first thing you must do is let them know that your income situation has changed. It is possible, depending on the circumstances, that they may adjust your rent payments.

If you are receiving a regular unemployment check, keep in mind this is considered income and must also be reported to the PHA. The PHA excludes temporary or non-recurring benefits, but you should still inform them of these as well.

Will Section 8 Also Pay for My Utilities?

Section 8 does help those with extremely low or zero income with utility expenses. The PHA will calculate if you may qualify for utility reimbursement and either send you a check or pay the utility companies directly. The PHA calls this money your “utilities allowance” and it covers a reasonable amount of your utility expenses.

It is important to note that the PHA will not cover excessive or wasteful utility bills. If you exceed your “utilities allowance” you must cover the difference out of your own pocket. If you live in a building and your landlord pays the utility bills for the entire building, you do not qualify for a “utilities allowance”.

What Utilities will Section 8 Help Me Pay For?

Section 8 covers utilities, such as:

  • Electricity
  • Sewer
  • Gas
  • Rental of a kitchen range, microwave and refrigerator
  • Water
  • Trash collection
  • Heating fuel

*Section 8 does not cover cable television, telephones or internet service because they consider them amenities.*

How Much is My “Utilities Allowance” on Section 8 and Am I Receiving Any?

If you would like to know if you are receiving a “utilities allowance” or how much of a “utilities allowance” you currently receive, you can do so by either checking if it’s stated on your lease, checking your income recertification paperwork filed each year, or you can request your “utilities allowance” amount from your landlord or PHA.

Can My Section 8 Utility Allowance Be Adjusted if I’m Disabled?

If you or someone in your household has special needs due to a disability, you may qualify for a higher “utilities allowance”.

For example, if you use any medical equipment that requires the use of electricity, such as an oxygen concentrator or asthma nebulizer, you could receive more allowance to cover the extra electrical expenses these will consume.

Final thoughts

Checking the status of your Section 8 application is quite important for you to stay positive and also know your position. Ensure you keep all records of your PHA office and continue to communicate as often as possible with the agency. In this way, they become aware of your application and do not accidentally have you removed from the waiting list.

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 Amanda, your housing situation is urgent. A majority of Section 8 housing vouchers are given to your people who are homeless or in urgent need. Generally speaking you would be moved to the top of the waiting list if you meet all the other requirements from your Public Housing Authority.

      The first thing you should do is contact your local Public Housing Authority, you can do so by clicking here Select your state on the left then contact the PHA office nearest to you. Obtain your section 8 housing choice voucher and be sure to list that you are currently homeless when you file the application. Good luck, we hope this helps.

  1. I am needing some help applying for Section 8 housing vouchers or Choice vouchers please I've never done this before my name and number Mary Ann Lopez 682 314-9083

    1. Hi, first of all you need to find a Section 8 apartment in your area, contact the landlord if they are willing to use the property as a section 8 housing. Next begin your application which can be done via mail, online or in the local housing authority’s office.

      Step 2: Fill in the application form with accurate information like social security number, name, gender, income etc.

      Step 3: Submit the application based on the housing authority’s instructions to avoid disqualification.

  2. Please let me know so I can you please let me know something soon I'm really needing the help I'm on the edge of losing my place where I staying out I need some help please my name is Mariela Lopez 602 31490

  3. How can I apply for assistance paying my portion of the gas, electric, and heating bill if the service is not in my name. I live in the basement which is a legal apartment. The electric,heat,and gas bill is in the tenants who reside upstairs name. Also I am responsible for paying my portion of the water (sewer)bill which is also in the name of the landlord

    1. Section 8 helps those with extremely low-income to pay utility bills. To qualify, visit the closest PHA in your area. It is important to note that the PHA will not cover excessive utility bills if you exceed your allowance once allocated. If you live in a building and your landlord pays the utility bills for the entire building, you do not qualify for a utilities allowance.

  4. Hi, my area PHA told me that they are not even accepting Applications and don't know when they will start again..Is there anything else I can try?

  5. I need to get a hold of section 8 they emailed me and I have to confirm my contact info is right I already went in the pha local office and updated my contact info now on the website I having issues can you help me my email changed and I need them to know and have my new one please my name is jamie bogdanoff threw hacsb new email address is Wiccanfever420@gmail.com 626-539-6151

    1. Hi, if you changed your phone number or email, it is very important to contact the housing office you applied with immediately letting them know of the changes. It is easier to visit the PHA office located closest to you or in the area you live in. To get a list of the PHA offices in your state, you can visit the HUD website.

  6. I'm in need of housing and want it to apply for section 8 but I don't know we're to go online for the application please help my phone number is 18187145924

    1. Applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program are entirely free, and depending on the PHA, will be available online, by mail or at the local housing authority’s office. For further information visit http://www.hud.gov

  7. I need help with identity theft I'm waiting for an answer from disability in have no income in didn't get no stimulus no unemployment binifites no civic benefits they getting all everything im homeless im taking my ged next week can y'all help me

    1. If someone is using your identity to get housing benefits. You can file a complaint right online, or you can call the Housing Discrimination Hotline: (800) 669-9777

  8. Hi my name is Renee
    My daughter died Dec 1st 2021
    Now iam raising my 2 granddaughters iam on social security I can't afford to get a place I really need help from section 8 please consider helping us out ty .

    1. If you are interested in applying for a voucher, contact the local PHA. For further assistance, please contact the HUD Office nearest to you.

  9. Just applied for section 8 I'm disabled,I want to confirm that you got my application,and confirm my contact info Thank. You Kimberley Oliverio

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      To check on your Section 8 Application call (213) 252-2500, or (213) 252-1213 or write to: Section 8 Application Processing Intake & Contracting (APIC), 2600 Wilshire Blvd., 5TH Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90057.

  10. It’s my first time doing this I just became disabled I need help for applying for housing & be put on the waiting list Hope you can help me Thanks Luis

  11. hello I live in san jose I am a victim of domestic violence and I live on the street as a homeless man he was imprisoned for 5 months when he left he gave me another beating because I did not want to return to the house with him and I put him in prison another time he leaves in a month and I am afraid I look for help everywhere and the only thing they tell me that the refujios are full I work but I do not earn much the burning my car with my two puppies inside which died in the insendium and even seeing the police reports people do not help me do not know q police reports and seeing that I do not lie to them mo help me hopefully algien look and understand this message and help me thank you

  12. Ashley.
    In October I applied to a apartment complex that accepted shra/sec. 8. I'm new to the process and assumed since I have a "t number" that I had been approved for a voucher. So I applied. I paid the application fee turned in what I believed to be all my paperwork and then when everything was looking good I gave them a "holding" deposit down for the apartment. I was questioning and informing the property manager that this was the 1st time I'd worked with shra and had no clue what I was doing. I figured that they would be able to read my social security number and connect with this HR and find out any information that they might need that wasn't the case. Long story short they rejected my application because I couldn't come up with a single piece of paper from them. After this happened they told me that they were going to refund my deposit and it would be in the mail weeks passed then months and I have called and left numerous messages called the corporate office as well it wasn't until I had threatened to make a police report and turn them into the Housing Authority that they finally called me back . They told me that my holding deposit was non-refundable a $200 holding deposit is a significant loss when you're already homeless with your teenager and two small dogs. They said that their application clearly states that the holding deposit is nonrefundable when your application is denied because you didn't provide the correct papers required. The required paperwork said nothing about Section 8., what I did read said that the only time it was deposited was after your application was approved and at that point you're holding deposit was used towards the apartment deposit and was nonrefundable so I don't understand how they could legally keep my holding deposit or how they can get away with this being connected to shra Section 8. Fair housing. I felt wronged after already being wronged from an illegal landlord lockout, and no justice or accountability has been enforced outdated neither. What good are laws when anyone has to run in circles trying to figure it out with no guidance I filed what seems to be every wrong area trying to figure out this legal issue I've applied to numerous complexes that I can't apply to because I actually don't have the voucher but I have a tea number. When you're feeling desperate and you've been kicked out by people doing illegal things and nobody gives you guidance it's very disheartening something so simple as telling you where you need to go and what you need to do with a clear answer instead you expend valuable time and lose money that you can't afford to lose, months pass and your still exactly where you started but time has taken thousands and your landlord looks at you and laughs because as you struggle they are still warm, kept everything you had, and got away with it. You are stupid because though your right your landlord knew you'd never be able to get an attorney, you'd be to busy surviving. What can I do? I've done just about everything 6 months have past and all I do now is lay in bed and cry awaiting that day the hotel locks me out because I can't get anything.

    1. Hi Alias,

      Sorry about what you’ve had to go through. Please visit your local PHA office to know what options you have in order to move forward.

  13. I moved to Dallas,Tx and just been putting in Section 8 and public housing applications all in Texas and I’m not getting no luck. My little family of 3 been staying in Motels since April 2021, I really need some help!

    1. Hi Geneva,

      Have you tried inquiring on why your application keeps getting rejected. If you haven’t , please do. It will enable you to know what you aren’t getting right in your application that keeps getting it rejected. In the meantime, you may apply for section 8 in another state. This may take longer as many housing programs give “residency preference.

    1. Hello,

      To get a section 8 housing voucher, first of all find your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Then determine if you are eligible before obtaining an application for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program

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