To receive assistance under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you must meet certain income requirements depending on the specific size of your household. Typically, these income restrictions vary depending on the metropolitan area where you live and the total number of individuals who reside with you.
If you qualify for assistance under programs such as public housing, privately owned subsidized housing or the Housing Choice Voucher program, there are several ways to apply for benefits. To apply for public housing or Section 8, for instance, contact your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) to begin the process. You or your PHA will need to complete a written application to determine your eligibility. To obtain privately owned subsidized housing, however, you may search for a participating apartment and apply directly through its management office.
Section 8 Housing Vouchers
If you wish to find your own affordable housing, you may apply for housing assistance under the HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Also known as Section 8, this program pays for the cost of rent if you live in a low-income household, hold a disability, are elderly or apply as a family. With your housing voucher, you can pay for a portion of your rental expenses while living in a participating single-family home, apartment unit or townhome.
To qualify for the HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, you must first meet several important requirements. To qualify for a housing voucher, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or qualifying non-citizen.
- Meet income restrictions depending on your metropolitan area and household size.
- Apply as a family, senior or an applicant with a disability.
- Choose a rental unit that complies with the HUD’s minimum safety standards.
- Apply through your local PHA.
While income restrictions vary widely by metropolitan area, your household earnings must not exceed 50 percent of the region’s median income. When applying for assistance, you must also be able to present verifiable proof of your household income and assets. To learn more about your area’s income limits and the steps you must take to apply, contact your local PHA.
While the eligibility requirements for the HUD’s public housing program are similar to that of the Housing Choice Voucher program, public housing beneficiaries cannot choose their own rental units. However, a variety of rental structures participate in the program, including apartments and single-family homes. Regardless of where you live, you will need to sign a lease when you accept a rental unit and you may need to submit a security deposit as well.
To qualify for assistance under the HUD’s public housing program, you must meet the income requirements for your metropolitan area and be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. Additionally, you must be disabled, elderly or part of a family. If you have any questions about these eligibility requirements, contact your local PHA. When you’re ready to apply for assistance, your PHA will walk you through the application process.
Privately Owned Subsidized Housing
If you meet household income restrictions for the area where you live, you may qualify for privately owned subsidized housing under the HUD. As part of this program, you’ll need to use the HUD’s online Resource Locator to search for participating apartments near you. Depending on the apartment, you may need to meet additional eligibility requirements as well.
After finding an apartment near you that participates in the HUD’s subsidized housing program, contact its management office to apply for affordable housing. If you have any questions, call 800-569-4287 for assistance or search for a local housing counselor online here.
4 Important Points to Remember When Applying for Housing Assistance
When applying for HUD housing assistance, it’s important to keep several points in mind to expedite the process and ensure you have everything you need. The following tips will help you to make the process as simple as possible:
- Section 8 beneficiaries and participants of the privately owned subsidized housing program can find their own affordable housing, as long as the unit they choose meets HUD safety standards
- To apply for public housing or Section 8 benefits, you must be low-income and apply as a family, senior or disabled individual
- After applying for public housing or Section 8 housing vouchers, each household’s name is added to a waiting list
- If you are homeless, cannot afford your current rental payments or you reside in substandard housing, your local PHA may move you ahead on the HUD waiting list
Losing Your HUD Housing Benefits
If you provide false information when completing your HUD application, you could face imprisonment and/or as much as $10,000 in fines. Additionally, you could lose your right to receive future HUD benefits. As such, it’s important to provide as much information as possible when applying for benefits and recertifying your program eligibility each year. This information includes:
- Each source of household income. You must include the wages and benefit amounts of each household member, including payments received for retirement, Social Security, child support, welfare or veterans’ benefits. If you receive financial support for one or more children, you must include these amounts as well.
- Any changes to your household income. This includes any increases or decreases to your household earnings, benefit amounts or changes in employment.
- The amounts of each household member’s asset. This information pertains to bank accounts, stocks, and checking or savings accounts.
- Personal information for each household member. To apply for HUD housing assistance, your application must include the full names and Social Security Numbers (SSN) of each household member who will be residing with you.
- Documentation. To verify the information on your application, you must submit the tax returns, birth certificates and any other pertinent documentation for those who will be residing with you.
As a beneficiary of the HUD’s housing assistance program, you must also comply with occupancy laws set forth by your landlord. In most cases, these laws vary depending on the number of bedrooms in a unit and the total number of individuals residing in your household.
If you have any questions about these requirements or the types of information you’ll need to include on your application, your local PHA can assist you. Your PHA may gather this information from you and complete the application on your behalf.