After completing your Section 8 application, it’s expected that you wait. Application processing could take between a few weeks and many months depending on how the applications are being reviewed. In most cases, online applications are processed faster than paper applications.
- Keep track of your position on the waiting list: After your application has been processed, the PHA will let you know if you have been placed on the waiting list or not. This may be done online or through physical mail. Your position on the waiting list may be determined by a number of factors such as the time and date of your application, preferences to those with special conditions, or a random lottery
Make sure you keep a record of important information such as your confirmation number if provided, the contact details of your PHA, log-in details if applicable, and your waitlist position. Some PHA’s may not give a precise position on the waitlist but will be able to confirm whether or not you’re still on it. You should confirm the status of your position on the waitlist from the time to time either by phone, online or at the office.
If your application was denied, you may begin filing for an appeal here.
- Make a rough estimate of how long you may have to wait: There’s no certainty on how long you’ll remain on the waitlist as wait time differs greatly according to office location. It’s not unusual to remain on the waitlist for several years especially if you’re applying to an area with a large population.
However, you can try contacting the PHA office and asking for an estimate of the current length of the waitlist. If the office is unable to provide this information, you can ask to access its Annual Plan. The Annual Plan of a housing authority may contain details about the number of people on its waiting list, along with the annual turnover rate.
Using this information, you can make a rough estimate of how long the waitlist is by dividing the number of households by the annual turnover rate. For instance, if there are 1500 households on a waiting list and the turnover rate is 300 households per year, you should divide 1500 by 300 to get 5. This means that it will take 5 years to administer assistance to everyone on that waitlist. You can then use this to estimate how long it may take for you to get assistance based on your position on the waitlist.
Note that several factors may affect the values on the annual plan, so the estimates you make can not be very reliable. It’s also possible that your PHA may not provide the information required for this estimate on their Annual Plan, or the Annual Plan may not be easy to access.
- Update your application information when necessary: It’s important that every information on your application is accurate as inaccurate information could lead to disqualification. Even after the initial eligibility check, the PHA will still review your application while on the waitlist.
Ensure that important information such as contact information, household members, and income is up to date by contacting the PHA office immediately anything changes. If you’re unable to receive notices from the PHA as a result of outdated contact details, your application could get terminated.
- Give immediate replies to notices sent by the PHA: PHA’s often purge their waitlists to be able to provide housing assistance to applicants as soon as possible. They do this by periodically sending messages through email or physical mail checking if the applicants on the waitlist are still interested in receiving assistance.
Failure to respond within the given timeframe following specific instructions will lead to your application being terminated.
- Apply to other PHA’s: After applying to one housing authority, you can apply to several others to expedite the time you’ll have to wait to receive a voucher. Some housing authorities may have a shorter waitlist or you may get a more favorable position on another waitlist. When doing this, however, ensure you stay updated with all applications.
What Happens When Your Application Reaches the Top of the Wait List?
When your application reaches the top of the waitlist, you will be invited for an in-person eligibility interview. You will be expected to come along with some necessary documents, so it’s advisable to prepare these documents beforehand to avoid delay. Here are some of the important documents you may be required to present at the interview:
- Proof of income: To prove your income eligibility, you will be required to present your recent consecutive pay stubs or a statement of your proof of income in notarized form. If you have more than one job, this may be a bit difficult to organize.
However, just arrange them in the best way you can and be ready to explain your work situation and earnings during the interview. This may also apply to every income earner in your household
- Recent bank statements: Your PHA may also require that you and every adult income earner of your household present your most recent bank statements from both savings and current accounts for detailed inspection.
- Photo ID for household members above the age of 18: Acceptable forms of photo ID include passports, state ID’s and driver’s licenses./li>
- Birth certificates: Your PHA may request birth certificates of all members of your household as proof of age and citizenship.
- Social Security cards: It’s important to prepare this beforehand because if you or any member of your household has lost their SSN card, it could take weeks to replace.
- Retirement award letter: You will be required to present this document if you receive any Social Security benefits.
- Public assistance award letters: If your household receives any public benefits like Medicare, TANF, Medicaid, or SNAP, you may be required to provide the award letters for all of them.
If you make it to the top of the waiting list through the Priority Waitlist, you’ll need to provide documents to prove your situation. This may include
- Verification of Displacement
- Verification of Military Status
- Documentation of Disability
Ensure that you adhere to the date and other instructions given. Failure to attend your scheduled appointment will lead to disqualification and you’ll have to begin your application all over again.