In order to participate in Section 8 housing, you must agree to program rules that have been set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To live in Section 8 housing rentals, you must meet eligibility requirements for the program, including family or household composition.
Not only does the makeup of your household and household income determine your initial eligibility and benefit amount, but it is a deciding factor in your continuing eligibility.
You may be able to amend your Section 8 application to add a household member if any changes to your household must be made while waiting for program approval or while waiting for benefits on a waiting list. However, if you have already begun to receive assistance, you will need to inform your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) of any changes to your household or household income. Additionally, you must obtain approval from both your landlord and the PHA before adding any new household member.
After submitting a Section 8 application, you can generally only amend your application by contacting the PHA that received your application. If you completed a Section 8 housing online application, you may be able to amend your application online, depending on your state.
In order to determine whether or not the household member can be added and whether or not your family or household will continue to be eligible for assistance, you will likely be asked to provide the PHA with the documentation for this new individual, including proof of identity, Social Security number and income.
If your family is no longer on the Section 8 housing list and has already begun to receive benefits from the housing choice voucher program, you must contact your local Public Housing Agency if you wish to add a household member.
Before contacting the PHA regarding an adult or child that you would like to add to your household, you must obtain permission from your landlord. If you are unable to get permission from your landlord, you may still contact your PHA in order to determine whether or not the addition can be made to your household.
To change your Section 8 housing family composition, you must contact the PHA for a final decision on whether or not an addition can be made to the household. The PHA may approve or deny family additions, based upon circumstances, familial status and income levels. Circumstances for adults and children are different. If the Public Housing Agency denies your request, the new household member may not remain in the household.
The amount of time that you have to report a change to your household makeup to your landlord and your local Public Housing Agency is determined by your state. Generally, you will be given between seven and 30 days.
To add a child to a Section 8 housing rental, you or someone within the household must be the parent or legal guardian of the child. Children may be added to Section 8 housing for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:
In the case of birth or adoption, you may be required to provide the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card to the PHA in order for the request to be approved. In cases involving custody or guardianship, a copy of a court-ordered assignment, affidavit from a parent or another legal document verifying the custody or guardianship status must be verified.
Adding an adult to a Section 8 housing rental is more difficult to do than adding a child. Adults that are not related are unlikely to be approved. Related adults may be added to a household in certain circumstances, including for disability accommodations. For example, if the head of a household can demonstrate to the Public Housing Agency that their disabled, elderly parent needs to live with them in order to receive care and that parent has no other means of obtaining safe and affordable housing that can provide care, the PHA may approve the request.
If a household member on the original Section 8 application left the household at some period of time while a household was receiving benefits, the Public Housing Agency may allow that individual to return to the household within a set period of time. In some cases, the adult returning may be required to submit documentation again, verify income and undergo a criminal background check.
If you are living in a Section 8 housing rental and you wish to remove a household member, you must contact your local Public Housing Agency within a set period of time to inform the PHA of the change. You may need to complete a form and have the family member that is being removed and the landlord sign the document in order to complete the request. The income that the individual provided to the household will be removed from household income and the PHA will re-verify the household’s income, eligibility and benefit amounts.
When you submit a Section 8 housing application, you must agree to follow the rules that have been set forth by the HUD. Changes to Section 8 housing family composition without notifying the landlord and PHA is a serious violation of the rules of the housing choice voucher program. Failing to submit a notification or failing to abide by PHA rulings can be a cause for the discontinuation of housing choice voucher benefits. In cases such as these, the PHA may not continue to provide housing rental assistance and the family may be evicted.
If facing eviction or the discontinuation of program benefits, you will receive a decision notice by mail. This notice will include the date that the change shall go into effect. This date may vary by state, but it typically 30 days from the effective date. This notice will also include your right to an appeal as well as the steps that you can take to appeal the PHA decision.