How to Apply for Section 8

Section 8 is a form of government assistance to help those struggling financially pay for their housing expenses. The program allows the recipients to pay a maximum of 30% of their income toward rent. There are certain rules and requirements that must be met and followed in order for people to receive Section 8 benefits, but the most important one lies in making sure the application is filed correctly.

Start with the Local Housing Authority

Section 8 involves the federal, state, and local governments. Starting with the county is the only way to get the ball rolling. For those who live in one county, but wish to move another if and when the application is approved, mention this to the county office where you currently live. They will be able to provide direction as to what you should do, and this may involve visiting the county you want to live in and applying at that HUD office.

The local housing authority will be able to provide you with the requirements for the program in terms of income limitations and housing size. They will also provide you with waiting list information, and the actual application. Most areas will have a waiting list to receive the subsidy, and unless you are in dire circumstances, you will have to wait your turn, in a first come, first served order. When your name comes to the top of the waiting list, you will receive benefits and may begin looking for a home to rent.

Filling Out and Filing the Application

The Section 8 application will request details about the applicant(s) and the family living with them. It will also request income information, such as pay stubs, evidence of disability payments, evidence of unemployment, or tax returns. These income statements will be required for every employed individual in the home.

You will also be required to supply information on your current living situation, and if you are renting a home, you will need to prove how much you are paying in rent and that it is too much based on your current income. If you are homeless, or have small children in the home, you will be given preference over those who are living with relatives or are in a more secure living situation. 

Turning in the Application and Waiting

When the application is complete, return it either in person or by mail to the local housing authority. Wait until you hear from them regarding a decision. If you have been placed on the waiting list for benefits, they will let you know, and they will also notify you of when you have reached the top of the list.

With Section 8, you will be allowed to rent from certain landlords and housing developments only, because not all of them are willing to accept the voucher. All Section 8 homes are subject to inspection before the assistance can be received, some landlords may not want the subsidy because their property does not meet minimum standards. Others agree to it because it is guaranteed rental income.

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