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Learn About Section 8 Requirements in New Jersey

In New Jersey, Section 8 requirements comply with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines for issuing housing vouchers. The evaluation of applications for Section 8 eligibility is administered by Public Housing Authorities (PHA) throughout the state. Each PHA is responsible for accepting applications, screening candidates and managing the waiting list for the program. Those seeking housing assistance must apply for Section 8 directly to their local NJ PHA.

When applying, residents must meet Section 8 eligibility requirements based on income, family status and citizenship status. In general, applicants must have an income that is at or below 50 percent of the median income for the area. Individuals classified as extremely low-income (those with income at or below 30 percent) receive preferential treatment on the waiting list and may move ahead quicker than other families on the list.

Learn About New Jersey Section 8 Requirements for Family Status

Applicants must meet the New Jersey Section 8 requirements for family status to be eligible for the program. Per Section 8 housing eligibility guidelines, a family is defined as an individual or group of individuals living together as a household. Section 8 applicants may qualify if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • Household – A family with or without children qualifies for Section 8. Households where the children are temporarily away due to placement in foster care qualify as a family under Section 8 guidelines.
  • Elderly Family – Households in which the head of household or co-head of household is at least 62 years of age qualify as an elderly family. Also, two individuals living together each of whom are 62 years of age qualify.
  • Disabled Family – To qualify as a disabled family, the head of the household or co-head of household must be disabled. Households may also qualify as two or more persons with disabilities living together.
  • Displaced Family – Any individual or household displaced due to a disaster recognized by federal disaster relief laws meet Section 8 eligibility
  • Single Person – A single individual is one who does not meet the criteria of elderly, disabled or displaced per HUD guidelines.
  • Remaining Member – Persons who do not qualify as a family member but live in the home are noted as a remaining member on the application. Individuals such as a live-in aide, for example, would be counted as a remaining member. The income of the individual is not included in the income calculation when determining Section 8 eligibility.

What are the Section 8 Income Limits in New Jersey?

The NJ Section 8 income requirements vary based on family size and the area that each PHA serves. The HUD defines income as all monetary and non-monetary earnings of every member of the household from sources outside of the family. For eligibility purposes, the PHA calculates income based on the amount anticipated for the 12-month period following applicant’s admission to the program or annual recertification. There are three categories of income limits used to determine eligibility for the program, specifically:

  • Low Income – Income at or below 80 percent of the median income for the area
  • Very Low-Income – Income at or below 50 percent of the median income for the area
  • Extremely low-Income – Income at or below 30 percent of the median income for the area

What Is Included in Annual Income Calculations

The PHA considers the following items when determining if a household meets section 8 income requirements:

  • The full amount of wages and earnings (before deductions)
  • Net income from business operations
  • Net income from real estate or personal property
  • Social Security, retirement funds, pensions and disability benefits
  • Welfare assistance
  • Alimony and child support

What Is Excluded from Annual Income Calculations

  • Income of household members under 18 years of age
  • Payments for foster children or foster adults
  • Insurance payments
  • Adoption assistance payments

The PHA also does not include assets such as bank accounts or cash reserves in the calculation. HUD housing requirements do not limit the number or amount of assets a candidate may have. However, the income or interest produced by those assets are included and may affect the individual’s eligibility for the program.

Income Deductions

When calculating income for Section 8 eligibility purposes, the PHA makes the following deductions:

  • Dependent Allowance – The PHA grants a $480 deduction for each family member who is either 18 years of age or younger, disabled or a full-time student.
  • Elderly or Disabled Household Allowance – Households classified as “Elderly” or “Disabled” receive a $400 deduction for the household.
  • Childcare Allowance – Section 8 housing eligibility guidelines allow for a reasonable amount to be deducted for the care of children 12 years of age or younger.
  • Disability Assistance – Households with disabled family members may receive a deduction for unreimbursed expenses to cover certain costs for the family member’s care.

Learn About New Jersey Section 8 Qualifications for Legal Presence and Residency

To meet the NJ Section 8 eligibility criteria for residency, each member of the household must certify that they are either a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. Per HUD housing requirements, members of the household who are not able to confirm either of the two must acknowledge that they are ineligible for the program and will be receive a denial.

U.S. Citizenship

Applicants claiming U.S. citizenship on their application only need to sign a declaration stating their status. In some cases, however, the PHA may require additional evidence in the form of a U.S. Passport, Social Security Card or other documentation required by the PHA.


According to Section 8 requirements, eligible non-citizens include those who were lawfully admitted for permanent residence as an immigrant, those individuals with refugee status, or those admitted at the discretion of the Attorney General. The PHA requires the appropriate Immigration Naturalization Services (INS) documentation for each eligible non-citizen in the household.

Learn About Additional Section 8 Requirements in New Jersey

In New Jersey, Section 8 requirements state that individuals who were previously evicted from public housing for drug-related activity are ineligible for at least 3 years from the date of the eviction. When evaluating if an individual meets section 8 requirements, the PHA has discretion on the exact length of ineligibility.  Also, individuals who have committed a drug-related or violent crime and those who have committed fraud related to public housing are ineligible for the program.

To contact your New Jersey HUD office, click here.