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Housing for couple.
October 1, 2009 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Disabled couple without children eligible for section 8 housing?

My boyfriend is currently on disability and is living in section 8 housing, and my disability application is currently pending. Is it possible for us to qualify for section 8 together? The max monthly income we would make together should I be accepted and receive disability would be approximately $1500. Also if my disability isn't accepted would we still qualify with me not being able to work? I'm not exactly sure what the income requirements are by state for section 8. I know at the housing authority office they have a print out by state on income requirements, is that available anywhere online? My boyfriend is planning to call the housing authority office tomorrow to get a better understanding of things. Though any information we get here that could offer some clarity on our situation would be helpful and appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Please let a mod know and post what state you are in so that people who know things might be able to offer some advice -- as you know, rules vary state to state.
posted by brainmouse at 10:25 AM on October 1, 2009

There are approximately 100 zillion variables here that we don't know. However,

Section 8 guidelines come from HUD. You can find your HUD numbers for your community using this form: here

HUD Guidelines on Section 8 application: here

Depending on where you are, you should be eligible for HUD assistance up to 80% of median, however I think it dips down as low as 30% depending on where you are and availability of housing.

There's really not much @ all that we're going to be able to do for you here---they should answer all your questions tomorrow.

FWIW, the disabled folks are a protected class under Fair Housing, the only possible factor here is your income. I am from WV, and in every community here, a 2 person household with a combined income of $1500 would qualify for every program I work with. HOWEVER, most do look at all income sources total (WIC/Food Stamps/SSI/SSI-D/etc. etc. etc.)
posted by TomMelee at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2009

Oh, and this link should be helpful too. Income limits for Section 8 for 2009.
posted by TomMelee at 11:12 AM on October 1, 2009

In case you're not clear on this, income limits for housing are maximum incomes, not minimums. You don't need to make a certain amount of money to qualify, you just can't make too much. In addition to varying by state, they may also vary by county within the state. The limits are usually slightly higher in larger metro areas versus rural areas.

If your boyfriend is already receiving Section 8 benefits, you can usually be added to the lease as a second household member, so long as your income will not put the total household income over the limit. This might be the best way to go at this point because in my area, the Section 8 waiting lists are either closed or so long that it may be years before you're at the top of the list.

When your boyfriend contacts the HA, get him to ask if they can provide a list from your local HUD office of properties that receive project-based assistance. These properties receive rental assistance directly from HUD specifically for their tenants only, and the waiting list may be shorter than if you sign up for the HA's waiting list.

And yes, if you can get a mod to post where you live (state and county, if you're comfortable with that) we'll be able to help you with more specific information.
posted by chiababe at 11:13 AM on October 1, 2009


For general info about Section 8 (Housing Choice Vouchers), basic information can be found here. I'd recommended looking through the entire guidebook for more detailed information. There also appear to be links for individual states, but I'm not sure how specific those sites are.

As to the rest of your question:

Are you asking if you can be added to his voucher (live together)? Or do you want to apply separately (live by yourself)?

If you want to be added to the voucher, definitely let the Housing Authority (HA) know that when your boyfriend calls. If you're not legally married, you and your boyfriend will need to sign a common-law marriage certificate. (HUD is real big on official documents). The HA will then run a background check (CBI), and as long as you haven't committed major felonies, will likely approve you to be added to your boyfriend's voucher. (FYI - per HUD regulations, the only way an adult can be added to a household is through marriage, or if the person is elderly, or can be proved to be disabled and the head of household is the primary caretaker.)

If you want to get your own voucher, then you'll need to ask about the application process, as each HA works differently. For smaller HAs, a waiting list is pretty normal. Larger ones might have lottery selections, so you'll want to know when that will be.

Regarding your income: Section 8 is primarily based on an income threshold -- if you and your boyfriend live together and you both are on disability, you both are well below the income threshold (~$28,500 for a two-person household, at least in the county I'm in). The income threshold for a one-person houshold is approximately $25,000 (again, for this specific HA). As long the total household income doesn't exceed the threshold, you are still eligible. Section 8 clients often are non-employed and/or don't receive any disability/social security/TANF/etc -- although any sort of income (a friend paying for a $50 cell phone bill, for example) is generally taken into account.

On preview: good information already provided. I would delete my redundancies but I've deleted one post attempt already (originally missed the fact that your boyfriend is already on Section 8).

Following up on what TomMelee and chiababe said: If you do get added to your boyfriend's Section 8 voucher, the portion that he pays to his landlord would likely increase since you would be adding income to the household - sometimes that throws people off-guard, so just a heads up. Also, I'm assuming that he holds a Housing Choice Voucher (can rent anywhere that's willing to take Section 8) rather than a Project Based Voucher (Section 8 assistance only so long as he stays in a specific place).

In short: definitely keep with the plan to call the specific HA. Even better is to go in person, if you're able.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:45 AM on October 1, 2009

Does he have a voucher or is it project based Section 8 or is it a Housing Authority property. These have similar but different rules!

I manage a project based section 8 complex. Mefi mail me if you have questions about project based Section 8. With project based section 8, moving you in would not be a problem (unless your screening is denied!) The income limits are for move in. If you make "too much" money you simply pay the contract rent.
posted by vespabelle at 1:16 PM on October 1, 2009

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