Learn About Section 8 Requirements in New Mexico

Local Public Housing Authorities (PHA) offer housing assistance to families who meet New Mexico Section 8 requirements. Each PHA uses Section 8 qualifications and guidelines outlined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when determining a household’s eligibility for participation in the program.

To qualify, applicants must be either a citizen or an eligible non-citizen. Everyone in the household must also provide a valid Social Security number as required by the PHA. Applicants must meet Section 8 income requirements and will need to provide evidence of their income using paystubs, tax statements or bank records. The income requirement is based on the median income for the applicant’s area. When applying for the program, residents must also pass a background check and must not have outstanding debt to a federally funded housing program. Continue reading to learn more about requirements when applying for Section 8 in New Mexico.

Learn About New Mexico Section 8 Requirements for Family Status

Per NM Section 8 requirements, applicants must qualify for the program as a household. For Section 8 qualification purposes, a family may be an individual or group of individuals who are living together, regardless of relation or familial ties. Families may be eligible, provided they meet one of the criteria listed in the sections below.

  • Family with Children – Families with children qualify even if one of the children is temporarily out of the home due to placement in foster care or alternate living situation.
  • Two or More Disabled Persons Living Together – A disabled person is one who is unable to maintain substantial and gainful employment due to a physical or mental impairment for 12 months or longer.
  • Two or More Elderly Persons Living Together – For Section 8 eligibility criteria, an elderly family is one in which the head or co-head of the household is at least 62 years of age. The PHA defines a near-elderly family as one in which either the head or co-head is between 50-61 years of age.
  • Single Person – A single person who is an elderly, displaced, disabled or any other single person qualifies as a family under PHA guidelines.
  • Remaining Members of the Household – In the state, remaining members of the household are those individuals who are not a part of the family for eligibility purposes but who live the unit with PHA approval. Examples of additional members include live-in aides, foster children and foster adults.

The absence of a family member can affect the family’s Section 8 eligibility, and as such, applicants should make their PHA aware of any changes in income and family composition. Anyone gone from the home for 180 days or less is considered a part of the family per PHA guidelines. Those absent for more than 180 days are considered permanently absent.

In the event of a family breakup, the PHA must determine if the remaining family still meets Section 8 housing eligibility. If the family breakup is due to domestic violence, the victim remains eligible. If the breakup is due to a divorce, the PHA uses the ruling in the divorce decree to determine which members of the family continue to receive assistance.

What are the Section 8 Income Limits in New Mexico?

Applicants must meet NM section 8 income limit criteria to be considered for the program. The Section 8 income limits vary based on the county and family size. The HUD guidelines use the following categories to determine eligibility based on income:

  • Low-Income: Income may not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the area.
  • Very Low-Income: Income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area.
  • Extremely Low-Income: Income may not exceed 30 percent of the median income for the area.

Variations and Exceptions

The PHA may alter the Section 8 income requirements in cases where HUD determines it is warranted based on extremely high or low family incomes. Also, per HUD requirements, the PHA must target at least 75% of its eligibility towards those families categorized as “extremely low-income.”

What is Included in Income Calculations

When calculating income projections for the family, the PHA must include:

  • Income from wages
  • Business income
  • Military pay
  • Welfare assistance
  • Disability compensation
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Severance pay

About Assets

The PHA does not include assets in the Section 8 income limit calculation. However, the income produced by those assets are used when calculating income. Per Section 8 requirements, the following assets will be used to determine income:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Lump sum payments (inheritances, capital gains, insurance settlements, etc.)
  • Real property
  • Investments
  • Trusts
  • Retirement accounts

What is Excluded from Income Calculations

The PHA does not use the following when calculating income for the family:

  • Student financial assistance
  • Income of family members under 18 years of age

Deductions

When calculating annual income to determine Section 8 eligibility, HUD requires the PHA to deduct from income any of five mandatory deductions. The remaining amount, known as the adjusted income, is what the PHA must then use to qualify the family for the program. The deductions are as follows:

  • Dependent Deduction – The PHA deducts $400 for each dependent under 18 years of age, or a dependent over 18 years of age who is disabled or a full-time student.
  • Elderly or Disabled Deduction – Per HUD housing requirements, only one $400 deduction may be granted for a household with a disabled or elderly family member.
  • Medical Expenses Deduction – The PHA deducts unreimbursed medical expenses if those expenses exceed 3 percent of the annual income.
  • Disability Assistance Deduction – Families receive a deduction for the medical expenses incurred for the cost of an aide or medical equipment for a disabled member of the family.
  • Childcare Expense Deduction – When calculating income for the Section 8 income limit, the HUD requires PHAs to deduct the amount of childcare costs for children under 13 years old. The deduction applies only if the expenses were necessary to enable the family member to seek employment, be gainfully employed or further their education.

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

New Mexico Section 8 requirements mandate that each family member declare their status as either a citizen, eligible non-citizen or undeclared. To meet Section 8 qualifications for legal presence, at least one member of the family must be a citizen or eligible non-citizen. Any individual who wishes to remain “undeclared” is ineligible for assistance under the Section 8 program, however other members of the family may still be eligible.

Anyone claiming to be a U.S. citizen must sign a declaration stating their status. All others must cooperate with the PHA to verify their status. To be eligible as a non-citizen, the applicant must have a valid immigration status as follows:

  • Permanent resident card.
  • Arrival-Departure Record annotated with “Asylum” or “Admitted as a Refugee”.
  • Temporary resident card.

Learn About Additional Section 8 Requirements in New Mexico

In NM, Section 8 eligibility rules state that each member of the household must disclose their Social Security Number (SSN) and provide their Social Security card or other relevant documentation to prove their SSN. The Section 8 requirement for an SSN does not apply to those claiming eligible non-citizenship status.

Eviction from Federal Housing

Family members who were evicted from federally-funded housing for drug-related criminal activity within the last 3 years are automatically disqualified from the program.

Criminal Activity

Anyone with frequent drug-related or violent criminal activity may be denied admission to the program. The PHA may also deny those who have made threats to PHA staff or committed acts of bribery concerning public housing.

Outstanding Housing Debt

Individuals with an outstanding debt to any Public Housing Authority or any rehabilitation or public housing program are ineligible for the program.

To contact your New Mexico HUD office, click here.