The federal Section 8 program provides financial assistance for low-income citizens in need of housing. Funding for this program is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and distributed among the states. However, eligibility is determined at the local level by public housing agencies (PHAs). Therefore, any application updates need to be reported to PHAs for evaluation. Necessary updates include changes in income and family size. As this information changes, so does individual eligibility for the program.
To maintain Section 8 eligibility, both tenants and waitlisted applicants must update their applications with new information as needed. Moreover, applicants who fail to report changes may be removed from the waiting list entirely. Applicants must report changes as soon as they occur. This update process depends on the PHA and the type of update required. Once an update is made, the PHA re-evaluates eligibility and clears the waiting list unqualified applicants.
When do I need to update my Section 8 application?
When you apply for low income housing assistance, you are asked to provide certain household information to determine your eligibility. This usually includes the number of family members and overall income, as well as your contact information. Once you are approved, you must continue to meet the program requirements in order to maintain your benefits. Any changes in income and household size can affect your eligibility for the program.
As a part of the Section 8 eligibility requirements, applicants must inform their local PHA any time changes occur in their household. This includes current tenants as well as applicants who are still on the waiting list.
- Changes in household size. This includes both adding and removing a household member. It is important to note that adding a household member involves additional steps.
- Changes in income. In general, your income cannot exceed 50 percent of the median household income for your designated area. Increases in income may result in a loss of eligibility.
- Changes in contact information. Throughout the application process, the PHA sends important notices regarding your program status. Some of these may require further action, so it is vital that you receive them in a timely fashion.
- Changes in address. If you plan to move but still require Section 8 housing assistance, you must update the program. This is to ensure that your new home meets program requirements.
Depending on where you are in the program, you must take certain steps in order to report a change. If you are currently on the waitlist, your eligibility is verified once per year by your PHA program. Alternately, as a current tenant, you may need to notify both your PHA and landlord about any household changes.
While You Are on the Section 8 Waiting List
Most PHA programs check your waiting list status for Section 8 once every year. Around this time, you will receive a notice that asks if your family still requires housing assistance. The purge notice is used to remove families who no longer qualify from the list. It also ensures that families still in need of benefits receive assistance as soon as possible.
Once you receive the Section 8 purge notice, you must respond promptly and include any updates to your application. Failure to respond to the notice within the given time may result in your removal from the waitlist. Therefore, it is necessary to update any changes to your contact information as they occur. That way, you always receive your notices and can respond on time.
While You Are a Section 8 Tenant
Even after your application for Section 8 housing is approved, you must continue to meet eligibility requirements. This is part of your obligations as a tenant, both with the program as well as with your landlord. During your lease, you must follow all lease and program requirements, which includes notifying the PHA about any changes. For changes in household size, you may not be permitted to add a member until you receive approval from the PHA and your landlord.
Once your lease is over, you must notify the PHA ahead of time if you intend to move. It is possible to continue receiving benefits at a new address, as long as the new home meets qualifications. Before you can use your Section 8 voucher, the PHA must approve your new residence. Make sure to choose a residence that meets inspection requirements for the program.
Find Out How to Report a Change to Your Section 8 Housing Authority
In order to update your low-income housing application, you must follow the steps outlined by your local PHA. Each program may specify a set amount of time in which you must report changes. Overall, it is best to update your application as soon as possible after the changes occur. Many PHA programs allow you to complete an update through the online application portal. In general, the steps to apply online are as follows:
- Locate the online form for application updates on your PHA’s website or call your PHA to inquire about where to find one.
- Provide your personal information, including your full name and Social Security Number (SSN).
- Choose what kind of update you require.
- Fill out the new information.
- Complete any additional requirements, such as filling out a packet for a new household member or providing proof of income.
Other Section 8 programs require that you report any changes in writing and mail them to the PHA office. In this case, make sure to specify the nature of your update in your letter, and mail it to your local PHA office. Once your letter is received, the PHA will review it and issue a packet to complete with your new information.
What happens if I do not update my Section 8 housing application?
Failure to update your application with new information may impact your eligibility for the program. In fact, if the PHA determines that you did not report a necessary change, your application is subject to cancellation. Once your application is canceled, you may receive a Section 8 denial letter in the mail. This notice outlines the reason for your denial and provides further instructions. At that point, you have the option to appeal the denial or wait until you become eligible to re-apply.
Furthermore, providing false information on your Section 8 application is considered a criminal offense. With this in mind, it is important to report changes as necessary and to provide the most accurate information each time you make a change.