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Learn About Section 8 Requirements in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Section 8 requirements must be met by all applicants who are considering eligibility for low-income housing opportunities. The Section 8 qualifications to consider will vary per county in Massachusetts. For example, the income limits will change, depending on the area of Massachusetts in which an applicant lives. This is largely due to the fact that the area’s median income is a direct result of the resident’s gross total income.

Requirements for Section 8 eligibility have different criteria for an applicant to consider, from income limits to citizenship, and beyond. It is important for all applicants to understand the expectations when learning exactly how to apply for Section 8 benefits. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) outlines the program’s purpose and guidelines, that when understood in advance, can help the application process go more smoothly. To learn more, continue reading below.

Learn About Massachusetts Section 8 Requirements for Family Status

One of the most important aspects of Section 8 eligibility in Massachusetts is determining the criteria for family status and composition. While family composition will directly affect Section 8 housing eligibility, in terms of special needs assistance and priority consideration, all applicants must meet the guidelines of what a family can be, as per government standards. The definition of a family is critical to eligibility for Section 8 housing, as it also comes with various guidelines. An applicant must meet the criteria of a “family” as defined by the Housing Authority, which includes:

  • A family may be considered as a single individual applicant or a group of applicants within the same household
  • A family may have a child or children
  • A family may not have a child or any children
  • A family may include group of persons with two or more elderly applicants or disabled applicants living together or one or more elderly or disable applicants living with one or more live-in aides.

In order for a family to meet the Section 8 qualifications in Massachusetts, the head of household or the spouse of the head of household must be at least 18 years of age, or a legally emancipated minor. Family size will also influence the eligibility for Section 8, as it has a direct correlation with the amount of aid possible. For example, families who have larger household members will have a higher threshold for median income guidelines. As long as the qualifications for Section 8 regarding family status are met within the state, then an applicant will be eligible to continue on to the income verification.

What are the Section 8 income limits in Massachusetts?

Section 8 income limits in Massachusetts play a large role in determining eligibility for affordable housing vouchers. Many prospective applicants wonder, “Do I qualify for low income housing with my annual earnings?” In order to determine whether or not an applicant meets the income limits for Section 8 housing, he or she must first consult with his or her local housing authority. The general rule for Section 8 income requirements is that eligibility is based off of gross income for the entire household. The basic income guidelines for Massachusetts suggest:

  • 75 percent: The number of all households to be eligible for Section 8 with an income within 30 percent of the area median.
  • 25 percent: The number of households that can have an income up to 50 percent of the median for the area.

The reason why consulting with the county first is important, in terms of Section 8 income qualifications, is because the median area income will vary throughout the state of Massachusetts. For example, the Lowell, Massachusetts housing authority lists that a one-person household is considered extra-low income with a gross total income of $18,100 or less. However, a one-person household in New Bedford, Massachusetts is considered extra-low income with a gross total income of $14,750. All applicants should contact the local public housing authority for their county in Massachusetts each year to find out the Section 8 income limits, since they differ, as illustrated above.

Learn About Massachusetts Section 8 Qualifications for Legal Presence and Residency

Another important aspect of eligibility for Section 8 in Massachusetts involves legal presence and residency status. Many applicants become concerned with how to qualify for Section 8 housing if they are not citizens of the United States. In Massachusetts, you do not have to be a citizen to apply for low income housing. You do, however, need to have eligible noncitizen status if you are not a U.S. citizen. Under certain circumstances, only the head of the household needs to prove residency status or legal registered alien status, in order for the household to qualify for Section 8. Some Massachusetts communities will require that every household member has a Social Security Number, or at the very least, certifies that he or she has no number. Applicants should contact the local public housing authority in order to determine the varied legal presence and county residency requirements for Section 8 assistance.

Learn About Additional Section 8 Requirements in Massachusetts

Beyond the HUD housing requirements in Massachusetts involving income and residency status, there are other important qualifications to consider, as well. Criminal history, eviction records and the ability to pay rent within a timely manner will all be factored when the Housing Authority considers Section 8 housing eligibility for each applicant. A criminal background check will run on every member of the household who is at least 18 years of age. The Housing Authority will use this criminal check in order to verify if the adult household members qualify for housing assistance, or if there is something within the record which will be grounds for disqualification from when learning how to qualify for Section 8 housing. For example, having a felony conviction on a background check, or having an outstanding debt within a previous landlord will prevent any applicant from being able to receive aid. In some cases, the background screening will involve questioning current and previous landlords, as well as neighbors who can reference an applicant’s nature as a renter. Even if one household member does not pass the background screening for Section 8 eligibility, then the entire household can be disqualified from receiving housing assistance.

To contact your Massachusetts HUD office, click here.