How to Get Section 8 Faster for Disabled

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Section 8 housing provides rent vouchers across the country for low-income individuals, low-income families, the elderly and the disabled. While the program serves an important purpose, it is not known for speedy processing. The need for affordable housing is much higher than the availability of such units, meaning people can stay on the Section 8 waitlist for months or years.

People with mental and physical disabilities often have trouble finding work that pays the bills, or they cannot work with their disabilities. Furthermore, Social Security disability programs do not cover housing. As such, there is a high need for housing assistance, such as Section 8, within the disabled community.

Contact the Local Public Housing Authority

Section 8 and other public housing assistance programs are administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD delegates many of these responsibilities to local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). Individuals who want to apply for any public housing assistance must contact the PHA that covers their local area.

Some states have one PHA that covers the whole state. Larger states maintain several PHAs to cover different areas. The HUD website has location and contact information for all PHAs in the country.

Individuals apply for Section 8 at their local PHA office. Each PHA also has authority to give priority to specific applicants. The office may also direct applicants to local resources for emergency help, such as nonprofit organizations and shelters.

Meet Income Requirements

The first step to getting Section 8 assistance is to check for eligibility. There are many ways to meet the initial Section 8 requirements. For example, many families meet it through income requirements. However, anyone with a documented disability meets the first qualification for Section 8 regardless of income.

In addition to meeting disability or income requirements, Section 8 applicants must also:

  • Meet income requirements, which depend on the area in which the person lives.
  • Prove citizenship.
  • Have no previous eviction from public housing within three years for drug-related reasons.
  • Have no conviction of producing methamphetamine in public housing at any time.

The HUD website maintains income requirements for each area of the country, updated each year. Generally, people who make 80 percent of the area's median income qualify based on income. However, PHAs may give priority to those who make less than 50 percent of the area's median income.

Complete Necessary Paperwork Quickly

Anyone who meets the Section 8 eligibility requirements can apply through their local PHA. The faster an individual turns in all the requires paperwork, the sooner they will get housing assistance. However, errors on the application can result in a delay in assistance, so applicants should be as accurate as possible.

Apply for Emergency Section 8

Waiting lists are common for Section 8 housing, which means applicants may be put on one when they complete the paperwork. Many PHAs also maintain priority waiting lists, which help people get Section 8 assistance faster than they otherwise would.

Each PHA sets its own qualifications for emergency placement. Depending on the PHA, a person with a disability may qualify for the list. Other factors may move such a person higher on the list, such as:

  • Being an abused woman trying to leave the abuser.
  • Facing eviction from other public housing, not for drug-related crimes.
  • Single parents with very low income.
  • Victims of natural disasters who lost their homes.
  • People over the age of 65 years.
  • Veterans.
  • People without homes or who are in danger of becoming homeless.

The more of the categories a person falls under, the higher they may be on the priority housing list.

Other Housing Assistance Programs

Section 8 is not the only housing assistance program for people with disabilities. Any such person in need of housing assistance can see if they are eligible for help through:

  • Local charities.
  • Transitional housing through the PHA.
  • HUDvet.
  • Section 811.
  • Indian Housing Authorities.

In many cases, the PHA is a good resource for finding additional housing assistance in the local area.