How to Qualify for Section 8 Housing? Requirements for Section 8 housing vary, but generally speaking, to qualify for Section 8 housing, you must be a U.S. Citizen or legal immigrant and have a very low income.
How to Qualify for Section 8 Housing? Factors list
Section 8 eligibility is based on the following factors:
- Income limits
- Credit history
- Family Status
- Immigration status
- Identity and citizenship status
- Criminal record
- Background checks
1. Income Limits
Generally speaking, you must have a very low income to qualify for Section 8 housing. The exact income limit varies depending on your city and state, but generally speaking, you should expect to qualify if your household earns less than 50% of your area’s median income level.
2. Credit History
When it comes to your credit history, there are two main things that landlords look for.
- First, they want to know if you have a record of paying your bills on time.
- Second, they want to know how much debt you owe.
If you pay your bills late or have a lot of outstanding debt, landlords may be concerned that you won’t be able to make rent payments each month.
3. Family Status
At least one member of your family must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
If you are under age 18, you must have a parent or guardian who is eligible for the program.
If you are over 18 and not disabled, you may only qualify for this program if you have a dependent child living with you in the home.
The child does not need to be related to you biologically or legally; he or she merely needs to be a dependent such as a foster child that lives with you full-time and relies on your financial support.
If you are over 18 and disabled, you can qualify if this disability prevents you from working and earning a living.
4. Immigration Status
If you aren’t a U.S. citizen but have been granted legal immigration status, that status typically won’t affect your eligibility for Section 8 housing assistance.
However, if you are in the U.S. illegally or on an expired visa, it is unlikely that you will qualify for this program’s benefits.
5. Identity and Citizenship Status
In order to qualify for Section 8 housing, you must be able to prove your identity and legal citizenship status.
These requirements will vary slightly by jurisdiction, but generally speaking, you’ll need to provide a,
- U.S. passport or
- birth certificate as proof of citizenship.
In addition, you should bring a photo ID card such as a
- Driver’s license or
- State-issued identification card.
6. Criminal Record
If you have been convicted of fraud (or if any member of the household has) in connection with any federal housing assistance program, you will not be eligible for assistance under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
- If you are ineligible due to a fraud conviction, your ineligibility period will last for a minimum of five years from the date that the conviction occurred.
It is also possible that you may be permanently ineligible in certain circumstances (i.e., if the fraud resulted in substantial loss to the government).
7. Background Checks
If you meet all of the above eligibility requirements and you’re currently in search of housing through Section 8, you’ll need to pass a background check before being approved for assistance.
Generally speaking, Section 8 will consider any prior drug-related crimes, violent crimes, or sex crimes when approving an applicant for Section 8 housing assistance (or denying an applicant).
If you have a prior conviction on your record, you’ll need to explain why the incident occurred and what steps you’ve taken toward rehabilitation.