Section 8 is a government program that offers financial assistance to low-income individuals or households for their rental costs. Rent is paid out to landlords based on need and up to a certain amount. While not all landlords will accept Section 8 vouchers, Section 8 is a very helpful option for those that are struggling to pay their rent due to low income.
Who Qualifies for Section 8?
Eligibility for Section 8 requires specific incomes based on location and the size of a family. As an example, in California, a single person household must make less than $25,800 to qualify for Section 8.
In general, the income requirements will be about half of the average income within your area. However, the qualifications for Section 8 are also subjective; a case worker will look over your unique situation to determine whether you should be given assistance.
There are certain things that could help your application, such as:
- Currently living in a homeless shelter
- Being disabled
- Working more than 42 hours each week
- Being over the age of 62
While Section 8 will usually pay for the majority of a tenant’s rent, the tenant is still usually expected to contribute some amount. This amount varies but will usually be based on their monthly income.
How Do You Apply for Section 8?
You must visit the housing authority office within your city or county to apply for Section 8 assistance. It’s always important to apply for Section 8 as soon as possible, as there are often wait lists for this program. The time that individuals will spend on this wait list varies depending on the area; some wait lists may be as long as 6 to 7 years, while others may be much shorter.
Prioritization may be given to those that are most in need, such as the elderly. To process your Section 8 payments, you will need to be able to provide a lease from your landlord and you will need to ensure that your landlord will accept Section 8 payments.
Section 8 for Seniors Over 62
Anyone over the age of 62 is often given priority treatment when determining Section 8 assistance, though this is not always the case. Having priority treatment may mean that you move up the list faster and that you are more likely to be accepted into the program, which can be incredibly beneficial in areas that have a very long wait time.
Often, the only way to know whether you will qualify for Section 8 is to apply. Section 8 can be an incredible boon to those on low-income or fixed-income, but it may take some time to get and thus should not be relied upon for rental payments in the near future.
The amount of Section 8 aid that is given to an individual varies depending on location, and is usually based on the size of the rental property, payment caps set by the Public Housing Authority and fair market rent prices within your region.