We want to provide information to help you learn how to apply for the benefits you deserve.
We aren’t the government, and our company is private. We provide this information in a free guide.
If you’re trying to get assistance, we want to give you information so that you can:
- Understand the requirements for you to get benefits.
- Learn about the application process.
- Seek to get the most out of your benefits.
Table of Contents
- Want to learn about us?
- Where do we get our information?
- Are we the government?
- Is my information protected?
- Can I apply for Section 8 if I get other government assistance?
- Can I apply to any housing authority I want?
- What happens if my PHA’s Section 8 waiting list is closed?
- How long does it take to get my benefits?
- What are the special rules for Section 8 waiting lists?
- How can I check the status of my Section 8 application?
- Where can I use my Section 8 housing benefits?
- How do I find low-income housing options?
- How much of my rent will the housing authority pay?
- What do I have to do to keep my Section 8 benefits?
- What does a Section 8 landlord have to do?
- If I move, can I keep my Section 8 housing benefits?
- Can I use my benefits to buy a home?
- What happens if I get a Section 8 denial?
- What other benefits does HUD have to help pay for a home?
1. Want to learn about us?
We are not affiliated with the government in any way. We are a private company that engaged writers to research the Section 8 program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process. We are not providing legal or financial advice. If you need such advice, please contact an attorney or a financial advisor.
2. Where do we get our information?
Our team of writers does research online. Then we put the information in one place and in a clear way to make things easier for you.
3. Are we the government?
No, we are not the government. Our company is private. We find information that’s already online, but we put it together to make things easier for you. We want to give you the best help that we can.
4. Is my information protected?
5. Can I apply for Section 8 if I get other government assistance?
If you don’t make more money than the Section 8 income limits, you might be allowed to get Section 8 benefits even if you get other government benefits. When the PHA looks at your information, it looks at a lot of things to see how much money you make. Some of the things the PHA looks at are:
- Your work checks and tips.
- If you get money from unemployment.
- If someone pays you child support.
- If you get money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
If you and your family that lives with you make more money than your PHA’s income limit, you can’t get Section 8 benefits.
6. Can I apply to any housing authority I want?
If you do not already get Section 8 benefits, you can apply to any PHA that still has benefits to give out. It doesn’t matter where you live when you apply. But once a PHA gives you benefits, you have to live in that PHA’s area to use the benefits. There are different PHAs that are in different places. Your state might have a lot of PHAs where you can apply.
Every PHA has its own rules. So every PHA might have different income limits. And every PHA might have different rules for you to apply. Make sure you know the rules for a PHA before you apply.
7. What happens if my PHA’s Section 8 waiting list is closed?
If your PHA is not letting people apply right now, you have to wait until they start taking applications. Or, you can apply at a different PHA. PHAs have to tell people if they stop letting people apply. They also have to tell people when they are allowed to apply again. If the PHA isn’t letting people apply right now, you can apply for Section 8 at a different PHA. You can even apply at more than one PHA at a time. But once a PHA gives you benefits, you have to live in that PHA’s area to use the benefits.
8. How long does it take to get my benefits?
Usually, every PHA has a waiting list for people who want to get benefits. This is because a lot of people want benefits, but there isn’t enough money to give benefits to everyone. There might be a lot of other people who are ahead of you in line when you apply for benefits. Sometimes, you might wait months or even years to get Section 8 benefits.
When a PHA has a waiting list for people to get benefits, it sometimes doesn’t pick people just by looking at when they applied. So, you might not get Section 8 benefits because of your place in line. But sometimes PHAs have rules that let you get benefits faster. For example, if you’re at risk of becoming homeless, the PHA might put you in the front of the line so that you can get benefits faster.
9. What are the special rules for Section 8 waiting lists?
PHAs decide whether you get benefits by looking at how much money you make. Sometimes, a PHA has special rules that might move you up in line to get Section 8 benefits. These help people move up in line if they need help as soon as they can get it.
If a person meets one of the special rules, he or she might be able to move up the line for Section 8 benefits. A lot of PHAs have special rules so that people can move up in line if they are:
- About to be kicked out of their home.
- Spending more than 50 percent of household income on rent.
- Living in insufficient housing.
10. How can I check the status of my Section 8 application?
Once you get on the waiting list, you need to keep an eye on your application and make sure you give any information that they ask for. This will help get you ready for your interview when the PHA has Section 8 benefits ready for you.
Some PHAs have an online portal where you can check on your application. If you had given your forms to the PHA in person, you may need to talk to the PHA for more information about your status.
No matter what, the PHA will typically send you a formal notice when it is time to schedule your meeting to get your benefits. Make sure you go to this meeting, or the PHA may deny your application.
11. Where can I use my Section 8 housing benefits?
Once you have a Section 8 voucher, you can use it on any available home in your PHA’s area, as long as it is the right size for your family. You can use it on apartments, townhouses and single-family homes, based on the size and needs of your family.
But you have to make sure that the landlord of the home you want will let you pay your rent with a housing voucher. The PHA has to inspect the home before you can move in to make sure it is:
12. How do I find low-income housing options?
If you have a project-based voucher, you have to live in that specific housing project to use the benefits. Section 8 housing lists usually show you homes that will let you pay your rent with a housing voucher. Even if you don’t use a housing list, you can look for a home on any apartment list website and ask the landlord if he or she accepts housing vouchers.
13. How much of my rent will the housing authority pay?
Before you get your housing voucher, the PHA will determine how much it will pay. How much the PHA will pay depends on: (1) the cost of living in your area, and (2) how much money you make (this means the money your family makes if they live with you, too). These two things will tell the PHA how much of your rent your housing voucher will pay.
Usually, you can figure out how much the housing voucher will pay by finding out two things, and seeing which one is less money. The housing voucher will usually pay whichever one is less: (1) the payment standard that the PHA comes up with, OR (2) the rent cost, but subtract 30 percent of your family’s income every month. No matter what, you always have to subtract the 30 percent to determine how much the housing voucher will pay. You can pick a rental home that costs the same as the payment standard. Or, you can pick a home that costs more than the payment standard. If you choose a home that costs more than the payment standard, you will have to pay everything that isn’t covered.
14. What do I have to do to keep my Section 8 benefits?
When you get a housing voucher, you have to follow the rules. You have to follow the rules in your lease, and you have to follow the rules for Section 8 benefits. If you don’t, you might lose your benefits. Here are some things you have to do to maintain benefits:
- Pay the security deposit, if there is one.
- Make your rent payments on time to cover your part of your rent.
- Take care of your home.
- Tell the PHA if the family living with you changes, or if any of you start making more or less money.
15. What does a Section 8 landlord have to do?
If a landlord lets people pay for rent with a housing voucher, the landlord has to follow the rules. Here are some of the rules the landlord has to follow:
- Keep the home safe and clean.
- Let the PHA come look at the home when they need to.
- Follow the rules in the lease.
16. If I move, can I keep my Section 8 housing benefits?
If you have tenant-based voucher benefits, you can usually take your benefits with you when you move. But you have to follow the rules.
For example, you have to tell your PHA before you move. You also have to end your lease for the home you live in now. Your new home has to be safe, clean and low-cost. Also, you may need to meet additional requirements that are specific to the PHA of your new area.
Keep in mind that each PHA has its own guidelines for inspections and income limits based on the area. Contact the PHA in your new area before you move to learn about any specific requirements that you will need to meet.
17. Can I use my benefits to buy a home?
Instead of a housing voucher, you might be able to get a homeownership voucher. A homeownership voucher will pay some of the costs if you buy a home. But some PHAs don’t give homeownership vouchers.
To get a homeownership voucher, you still have to apply just like with a housing choice voucher. You have to do other things, too, such as:
- Be a first-time homeowner.
- Go to a housing counseling program.
- Meet certain job and income rules.
18. What happens if I get a Section 8 denial?
If you do not meet Section 8 requirements, the PHA will send you a notice of denial from the program. The PHA can stop your benefits if you don’t follow the rules. There are other reasons the PHA might stop your benefits, too.
If the PHA denies your benefits and you think the PHA was wrong, you can file an appeal. When you file an appeal, you ask for a hearing. In the hearing, the PHA will look again to see if you can have Section 8 benefits.
Your denial notice will tell you how to file an appeal as well as the last day you can file an appeal. If you want to file an appeal, make sure you file it before the deadline so it is valid.
19. What other benefits does HUD have to pay for a home?
HUD has more benefits than just Section 8. For example, sometimes a PHA will be the landlord, and HUD lets some people rent a home from the PHA.
HUD also helps low-income families buy a home. HUD helps first-time homebuyers, law enforcement officers, teachers, and other public servants.