Every person receiving Section 8 benefits in Texas must meet Section 8 qualifications. These requirements include income, residency and citizenship. These and other requirements also include federal qualifications laid out by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They also include state requirements laid out by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) covering the county where the assistance is to be provided or applied for.
Section 8 requirements include qualifying as a family as defined by the PHA and HUD, having an income equal to or below income limits specified for the area and meeting citizenship or eligible immigrant status. Other Section 8 housing eligibility requirements you may have to meet include passing a background check. Before applying for Section 8 benefits in any area of TX, check with the PHA covering that area to make sure there are no additional or special eligibility requirements other than the standard requirements laid out by HUD and the TDHCA.
While Section 8 qualifications require you to prove family status in order to apply for Section 8 benefits, depending on your family’s composition, certain program rules and eligibility criteria may vary. Moreover, some low-income housing requirements apply to individual members of a family or household while other requirements apply to the whole family. According to TDHCA policy, a family is any person or group related by marriage, blood or legal operation living together and applying income and resources to meet the needs of the family.
As far as Section 8 requirements go, to qualify as a family, an applicant must be either a single individual or a group of two or more individuals who either reside together or intend to reside together in the low-income housing unit rented through the program. One or more members of the family may also be disabled, elderly or near-elderly or displaced. Children may not be considered a part of the family to qualify for Section 8 benefits. For example, if you are fostering a child, you could not claim them as a part of the family. Adopted or unborn children, however, are counted. The individual may also be the last remaining member of a family already approved for the program. Beyond these definitions, the TDHCA can also determine that other people qualify as a family according to its discretion.
Documentation proving family status may include, but is not limited to, the following:
The PHA may also request additional documentation proving family status.
Every family member involved in the Section 8 eligibility process must be identified on an application for the benefits that member will receive. Each member must be identified by name, birthdate and gender. Anytime a household experiences changes in income or family composition, such as a member is added or leaves, this information must be updated. Family members must also agree to allow the PHA to collect and make use of the information the family provides as described in the PHA consent forms. If a family member is a student enrolled in a college or university, he or she may meet certain eligibility requirements that allow for restricted assistance.
Section 8 eligibility requirements apply for every new individual who joins the family or household as well. Besides meeting the requirements for a new family or household member, they, too, must meet all other Section 8 housing eligibility requirements in order to be admitted to the program. Certain individuals not considered family members may be approved to live with a family in a Section 8 assisted unit. These members of the household, including live-in aides and foster children and adults, are not considered in a PHA’s determination of whether to approve benefits and what level of benefits to provide. They do, however, need the PHAs permission to live in the unit.
Section 8 income limits are set by the HUD at 30 to 80 percent below the median income level for a family of a particular size residing in a particular county or area in the state. To meet Section 8 eligibility requirements, your family must make no more than that amount per year as its combined gross annual income. For determining Section 8 housing eligibility, there are three levels of low-income status:
In addition, for certain areas marked by abnormally low or high incomes, the HUD may set ceilings for Section 8 income requirements lower or higher than the 80, 50 or 30 percentile. Therefore, check with the PHA of any area in which you are applying for Section 8 benefits to find out the exact income limits at the time.
If you are wondering, “Do I qualify for low income housing?” keep in mind at least one member of any family applying for Section 8 assistance must either be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigrant status in order to be approved for benefits.
HUD housing requirements, in compliance with the January 2010 HUD Rent Reform Notice, state every family member must provide his or her Social Security number. The only exception is for members over 61 years of age as of January 2010 who already receive assistance or have already received assistance under Section 8 or other HUD-funded programs. The PHA will not verify your family’s evidence of citizenship and/or eligible immigrant status until your family is chosen for final eligibility processing from the waiting list.
To completely understand how to qualify for section 8 housing, be aware other factors may affect your eligibility as well, such as a criminal background or previous public assistance violations. If you or someone in your family has a criminal record, but it is not of a violent nature, you may still be considered. Each case in these instances is evaluated on an individual basis.
To contact your Texas HUD office, click here.