Section 8 requirements, which are determined by each state in the U.S., are determined in large part on your family’s combined income as well as other factors. Section 8 qualifications may also include a background clear of any criminal activity and certain civil violations, though a criminal record does not outright disqualify a household.
Some Section 8 eligibility requirements may vary by county in Utah, as each Public Housing Authority (PHA) has the discretion to create additional requirements of its program participants. Therefore, to determine your eligibility for Section 8 benefits in any part of Utah, check with the PHA serving that area to find out if it has any specific additional or different requirements.
To be eligible for Section 8 assistance in any part of Utah, you must consent to your family information being collected and used by the local housing authority to which you are applying. Once you are able to meet the Section 8 requirements for your area, you will be ready to apply for Section 8 and receive aid. The following sections can help you determine your eligibility before going through with the application process.
Part of the Section 8 eligibility criteria is that your household must qualify as a family, even if your household is comprised only of a single individual. A family is defined as a person or group who live together and share expenses to meet the needs of the household. Those people may be related by marriage or blood or by some process of law. Often, special consideration is given to families who have very young children, pregnant women, the elderly or disabled. Some PHAs give preference to veterans.
Each region and its PHA are left to determine if it will offer preferential consideration for various categories. The Section 8 qualifications recognize the member of your family who fills out and signs the application on the family’s behalf as the head of household. Any adult member of the family may apply on behalf of the household. Only one application may be submitted per family, however. Certain members of your household, like foster children and live-in aides, do not qualify as family. With approval, they may benefit from Section 8 housing assistance, but they are not considered in determining your family’s eligibility or the level of assistance your family is eligible to receive.
Certain Section 8 eligibility rules and criteria vary based on your family’s composition. Moreover, some qualifications apply to one or more individual members of the family, such as a student or disabled person, while others apply to the family as a unit. Be sure your family as a whole and each member individually within it meets all relevant eligibility criteria. The PHA to which you apply also has the discretion to decide whether a group qualifies with any other characteristics as an eligible family. If your household experiences any changes in income or family composition after you submit your Section 8 housing eligibility application, you must notify the local PHA of the change to make sure you retain eligibility. Failure to report a change in family composition often leads to a delay, denial or termination of Section 8 benefits.
Your family must meet Section 8 income limits to qualify for housing assistance through the program. That is, your family’s gross annual income must be some measure of low income. There are three measures of low income, based on the percentage it falls beneath the median income level for the same area in Utah or, in cases, the poverty level for the nation.
To meet Section 8 income requirements for low income, you must earn 80 percent or less of the median for your area, and, to qualify as very low income, you must earn 50 percent or less of that income. To qualify as extremely low income, you must earn either 30 percent or less of the median for your area or the national poverty level, whichever amount is higher.
To find out the exact median income amount to qualify for Section 8, check with the PHA for your area. Because this amount will differ among different parts of Utah, you may find you qualify under the income limits in some areas of Utah but not others, or you qualify under one level of low income in some areas and under another level in others. As such, it is worth checking and applying in as many areas as you would consider living in, to give yourself the best chances of finding Section 8 housing as soon as possible.
Section 8 eligibility rules in Utah state that if your family income changes after you submit your application or get approved for Section 8 benefits, you must notify the relevant PHA immediately. While this may affect your continued Section 8 eligibility, failure to report a change in your income could affect your future eligibility as well.
Section 8 eligibility in Utah requires at least one person in your family be a U.S. citizen or have approved legal resident status in order for your family to be eligible for Section 8 benefits. When looking at how to qualify for section 8 housing, if you are not a U.S. citizen, whether legal resident status is approved depends on a variety of factors, such as your country of origin, when you arrived in the U.S. and when you obtained legal resident status. The type and level of your eligibility for Section 8 housing varies depending on how many members of your family are U.S. citizens, how many have approved legal resident status and how many do not. All members of the family who have a Social Security Number must provide it with the application.
If you are wondering, “Do I qualify for low income housing if one of my family members lives part-time out-of-state?” consider that family members must also be residents of Utah to be eligible for Section 8 housing in Utah. Exceptions to this residency requirement do exist under certain circumstances for members of the military and students attending institutions of higher education.
In addition to HUD housing requirements involving family status, income and legal presence and residency, the PHA will also check to make sure nothing in your background precludes you from eligibility for low income housing. This includes any criminal, violent sexual offenses, or drug-related activity as well as any violations in previous public housing situations or within the immediate vicinity of a public housing unit.
To contact your Utah HUD office, click here.