May 30, 2013
-- One of the biggest monthly struggles for people who are living on a month to month basis is trying to figure out how to pay the rent. Being able to pay for the roof over a person, or a family’s head is often tough to afford for people who don’t have jobs or very high paying jobs and have to pay for other necessities, like food, clothing and transportation. The federal government recognizes this, which is why they set up what has become known as Section 8, a program that pays the rent of the people who live in these low income housing units on a monthly business. However, not everyone can live there on the government’s dime—there are very exact specifications surrounding who qualifies for section 8 housing and who does not. Check out the details below to see if your particular financial situation makes you eligible to live in Section 8 housing, rent free.
When You Should Consider Section 8
Just because someone else, namely the federal government using tax payer dollars, is paying your rent, this does not mean you should make it your goal to live in Section 8 housing. This program was set up for people who were in desperate situations and needed shelter for themselves or their families while they tried to get back on their feet. So if you need some assistance for a set period of time while you are recovering from real economic burdens or have just gotten out of prison or a rehabilitation clinic, than Section 8 is meant for you. If you are just habitually unemployed because you don’t like to work and want someone else to pay for you, than you shouldn’t apply for Section 8, as you’re taking advantage of the system.
Basic Income Requirements
One of the first stipulations of the Section 8 program is that you have to meet certain income requirements that prove you need Section 8 assistance. While income requirements vary from state to state that have the Section 8 program, the general rule is that you and your family cannot earn more than 50 percent of the median income in the country per year. HUD determines different median incomes in various areas around the country based on tax data. For example, the median national income for a family of three was about $52,000. This means to qualify for Section 8, your family of three could earn no more than $26,000 per year. This applies to total household income that is declared to the federal government. The number of people in your family also effects this, as each child or member of the family is more expensive on a yearly basis. So a single person household will only be able to earn a small amount of income per year and still get their rent for free, while a larger family of say 6 or 8 people would be able to earn a lot more per year and still qualify for Section 8 housing.
Other Qualifying Criteria
Beyond earning a low amount of money per year, other factors will play into HUD’s decision to approve people for Section 8 housing. Some of these things include being aged 62 years old or older, as the elderly have a very difficult time getting hired. Being a U.S. armed services veteran, widow or widower also helps people qualify for Section 8 housing, as does working 42 or more hours per week, as it will prove to the government that someone is trying to better their economic situation by working as hard as they can. People with disabilities are also given priority treatment when HUD decides who to approve for Section 8 housing. Having United States citizenship or legal immigration status is also a must to have housing paid for with federal tax dollars. Having children or currently living in a shelter will also make HUD take notice, and push your Section 8 application to the top. However, all of these other types of criteria will also have to be proven to HUD.
The more you know about Section 8 housing rules, the better you can understand how you can qualify for them or if you can get some relief through them. There’s no shame in living in Section 8 housing if you truly need it—that’s what the program is there for in the first place.
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