HOW IS MY RENT DETERMINED?

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ESTIMATE THE FAMILY RENT PORTION

FAMILIES PAY ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF THE MONTHLY ADJUSTED INCOME TOWARDS THE RENT

1) Use the calculator below to estimate 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income for your household. Understand that the family rent portion may be lower than 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income if the family is responsible for utilities. The family rent portion may be higher than 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income if the family is living in a unit that is larger than the number of bedrooms listed on the voucher.

2) If you are responsible for utilities, find the current utility allowance for your voucher size, unit type and utility responsibilities/ type. Subtract that number from 30 percent of the household monthly adjusted income in order to estimate the monthly family rent portion. Note that the HACCC has a minimum rent of $50.

​3) If you are living in a unit with more bedrooms than the number of bedrooms listed on your voucher and the contract rent for the unit exceeds the payment standard for your voucher size, subtract the payment standard for the unit size that you are eligible for from the total contract rent for the unit that you are living in. Add the difference and the estimated 30 percent of monthly adjusted income together. The sum of those numbers is your estimated monthly family rent portion.


4) If there is a large difference between your estimate and the Family Rent Portion that the Housing Authority calculated, double check the total annual income that you calculated. If there is still a large difference, write down the numbers that you calculated and call your Housing Assistant to compare your numbers to the income that we have listed for the family. Remember that under-reported income found at your next annual, may result in a repayment agreement.

***Note: If you submit an RTA for a unit where the utility responsibilities and the amount of Total Contract Rent that exceeds your Payment Standard causes the tenant portion to be over 40 percent of your monthly adjusted income, that unit will not be approved. It will be considered “un-affordable”. It’s recommended that you search for units with the same number of bedrooms as your voucher states and search for units that are within the Payment Standards.

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HOW DOES THE HOUSING AUTHORITY VERIFY INCOME?

DEFINITION OF ANNUAL INCOME

HUD defines Annual Income as all amounts, monetary or not, which: go to, or on behalf of, the family head or spouse (even if temporarily absent) or to any other family member; or are anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date; and which are not specifically excluded. Annual income also means amounts derived (during the 12- month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access. For HUD’s complete definition of Annual Income, including a listing of all income exclusions, see 24CFR5.609.

HOW THE HOUSING AUTHORITY VERIFIES INCOME

As a condition of housing assistance under the program, the Housing Authority requires the family to complete a detailed Initial Application and an annual Personal and Financial Statement listing all sources of income, assets, and other information needed to determine the appropriate level of subsidy. Additionally, family members must sign a consent form, authorizing any financial institution, employer, Federal, State or local agency, etc. to release information to the Housing Authority.

HUD requires that all income, assets, and other family information must be verified according to the following levels of priority.

Upfront Income Verification: Upfront Income Verification is the verification of income, before or during a family re-examination, through an independent source that systemically and uniformly maintains income information in computerized form for a large number of individuals. In an effort to minimize HAP overpayments due to tenant misreporting and non-reporting of income, HUD has launched an upfront income verification tool called Enterprise Income Verification (EIV). EIV contains data regarding wages and benefits received by all program participants with valid Social Security Numbers.

Written Third Party Verification (Tenant Documents): Written third party verification (tenant documents) are current, original documents generated by a third party source.

Written Third Party Verification Form (HA Form): In cases where the tenant is unable to provide documentation, or where the tenant provided documentation is not sufficient, the Housing Authority will contact the income source directly, in writing, to obtain the verification information.

Verbal Third Party Verification: If the income source does not respond to a written request for information or provides incomplete or unclear information, the Housing Authority staff may contact the source by phone to request clarification on incomplete information.

Tenant Declaration (Self Certification): If no other verification is available, staff will note the reason in the file and require the tenant to sign an affidavit declaring their income.

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INFORMATION REGARDING SPECIFIC TYPES OF INCOME/ VERIFICATIONS

​The following is a list of the most common income types, as well as other items that the Housing Authority documents, including details associated with how these items are verified. This is not a comprehensive list, as new income sources and other related items are added frequently. Items presented below are listed in alphabetical order.

Annual contributions / gifts – HUD requires that regular and ongoing contributions and gifts should be counted towards annual income. However, gifts or contributions that occur annually (such as Christmas or birthday gifts) are not considered regular or ongoing because they occur only once during the re-examination reporting period of one year. Therefore, such contributions and gifts are to be excluded if they are less than $1,000 per household.

Assets: For current program participants at annual re-examination only, the Housing Authority will accept tenant self-certification of assets on the Personal and Financial Statement if total household assets are reported to be less than $5,000. For applicants in the eligibility process, and for current program participants with $5,000 or more in total household assets, the Housing Authority will collect current tenant provided documents, such as bank statements.

Cash on hand – Occasionally Tenants report their cash on hand (as requested on the Personal and Financial Statement). Cash amounts less than $1,000 per household will not be counted as an asset. However, any amount of cash that is greater than or equal to $1,000 per household will be counted as an asset.

Child Care Expense Deductions: The Housing Authority must first verify that child care expenses are used to enable a family member to work, actively seek employment, or further his/her education. For instance, the childcare must be provided during the hours of work, education, etc. when there is no other activity (such as school) for the child.

Community Service Requirement: For verification of participation in required community service for public housing tenants, a timesheet signed by the agency but provided by the family is acceptable. For verification that a family member is exempt from performing community service, staff must obtain the highest level of thirdparty verification possible in accordance with this procedure, except for those exemptions that are due to permanent reasons such as age or permanent disability which have already been verified and documented.

Disability: If a tenant receives SSI, the verification of the SSI payment is acceptable verification of the disability. If the tenant does not receive SSI, verification of disability, depending on the individual’s circumstances, will be requested from a doctor, other health care professional or a social worker, with medical or professional knowledge of the person’s disability. If such verification is not available, the Authority may consider other forms of verification on a case-by-case basis.

Full Time Student Status: Full time student status must be verified using current tenant documents provided either by the household or by the school. Full time student status will be annually.

Citizenship and Immigration Status: All program participants admitted to the program must sign a statement indicating whether they are a US citizen, a legal resident, or whether they do not contend to have eligible citizenship status (and will therefore receive prorated assistance). US citizens will be asked to provide proof of citizenship, which may include either a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization certificate. Non-citizens who are under the age of 62 years old must provide documentation of eligible immigration status (which is then verified in the E-verify SAVE system).

Medical Expense and Disability Assistance Expense Deduction: The Department of Health and Human Services has developed Federal privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers as of April 14, 2003. These standards are part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The privacy requirements under HIPAA have a significant impact on how PHAs verify disability status, medical expenses, and disability assistance expenses. HIPAA requires that patients sign a specific authorization before a covered entity can release their medical information to a third party for purposes not related to the patient’s health care.

The Housing Authority appreciates the statement in the Verification Guidance acknowledging that “with increasing privacy law requirements, PHAs may have difficulty in verifying” medical and disability assistance expenses. In light of these considerable difficulties, the Housing Authority has determined that the best way to ensure the validity of medical and disability assistance expense information, while simultaneously protecting the confidentiality of our applicants and participants and complying with HIPAA, is a reliance on applicant / participant self-certification. To receive the medical expense deduction, tenants must complete the medical expense verification forms provided in the medical expense packet. However, if a program participant reports medical expenses in excess of $3,000, Housing Authority staff will attempt to further validate the expenses in a manner that does not violate the confidentiality of the program participant.

Photo Identification: All adult household members will be asked to provide a government issued photo identification at the initial interview, before being added to the household, or at the annual re-examination following an existing household member’s eighteenth birthday. Photo identification may consist of a passport, driver’s license, state issued identification card, military identification card or a student identification card. Photo identification must always be presented in person, rather than by mail.

Seasonal Income: If a participant is employed in an occupation that is cyclical (that increases or decreases at the same time each year such as farm workers, teachers and construction workers) all income expected to be received during the year must be annualized. If the Housing Authority determines that past income is the best predictor of future income, historical data may be used to project annual income.

Self-Employment: All self-employed tenants and applicants will be asked to provide a complete copy of their most recent tax return (including Schedule C and Schedule SE if applicable). Additionally, all self-employed tenants and applicants will be asked to complete the self-employment certification form, and to sign form IRS 4506-T.

Social Security (SS) / Supplemental Security Income (SSI): The Housing Authority is required to use the HUD EIV system to obtain up-front verification of Social Security and SSI benefits for current program participants. If the amount shown on EIV does not match the amount provided on a current original benefits letter, the amount in the benefits letter will be used. If no current original benefits letter has been provided, but EIV matches the amount the tenant has reported through the Personal and Financial Statement, EIV may be used without collecting tenant documents. However, if the amount reflected on the PFS does not match EIV and the tenant has not supplied an original benefits letter, staff will either obtain an original benefits letter or will contact the tenant by phone to provide the tenant an opportunity to dispute the information in EIV. If the tenant does not dispute the information in EIV, staff will document the phone call and may use the data in EIV. If the tenant does dispute EIV, an original benefits letter must be obtained. Additionally, original benefits letters will be used to verify the Social Security and SSI benefits of applicants and other individuals who are not in the EIV system.

Social Security Numbers: All applicants, regardless of age, must disclose a valid Social Security Number and provide the required documentation at the time of their initial eligibility determination.

Wages: The Housing Authority is required to use the HUD EIV system, along with tenant provided documentation (such as current consecutive paystubs), to obtain verification of wages.

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WILL HAVING SAVINGS OR A BANK ACCOUNT INCREASE MY RENT?

THERE IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION, THAT NORMAL AMOUNTS OF ASSETS WILL MAKE YOU INELIGIBLE FOR THE VOUCHER OR THAT IT WILL CAUSE NOTICEABLE CHANGES TO YOUR RENT PORTION.

Families in the Section 8 program do not have to comply with any general limitation on the amount and type of assets they can own. PHA’s will not take into account the value of the actual asset; if the family does not receive any income, it will not affect the Section 8 voucher. If a portion of the family’s assets generate income, then that income counts toward the household total “annual income” just like wages from a job would. All families should have emergency savings. If you are concerned that putting money into a bank account will impact your rent amount, please talk to you Housing Assistant.

Assets less than $5000: If a family’s net assets are worth less than $5000, only income derived from the asset is counted toward “annual income.” A family being issued the voucher for the first time is affected only if the income earned from the asset places the family over a certain income limit. A family already on the voucher program is affected only by the tenant payment increasing by 30% of the income derived from the asset (see example below). In other words, income derived from an asset is treated exactly the same as employment wages. PHAs will not take into account the value of the actual asset; if the family does not receive any income, it will not affect the Section 8 voucher.

EXAMPLE: Jim holds a Section 8 voucher and pays $150 each month in rent. Last year, his mother passed away and bequeathed him $3500 in stocks. From these stocks, he earned a $360 end-of-year dividend (equal to $30 per month). Jim will now have to pay an additional $9 per month toward rent.

$360 (income from the asset) / 12 (months in a year) = $30

​$30 (monthly income from the asset) x .3 (finding %30)= $9

What if Jim’s stocks did not grow?

$0 (income from the asset) / 12 (months in a year) = $0

​$0 (monthly income from the asset) x .3 (finding %30)= $0 (no change to the portion of the rent)

Assets greater than $5000: If a family’s net assets are worth more than $5000, the family must count toward annual income the greater of either (1) all income derived from the assets, or (2) a percentage of the total value of the assets based on the passbook savings rate, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) each year. The PHA will never count the full cash value of the asset toward annual income.

EXAMPLE: A husband and wife establish a $20,000 trust. Each year, the couple receives a $1000 disbursement from the trust. The HUD passbook savings rate is 3%. The couple’s annual income of $1000 from the trust exceeds $600, which is 3% of the total value of the trust. Therefore, the PHA will count $1000 toward annual income. However, if the couple decides to reinvest the $1000 in the trust, it will not count as income. In that case, $600 will count toward the couple’s annual income instead.

​Actual Income from Asset: $1000
Passbook rate anticipated income from asset: ($20,000 x .03)= $600

In this case, the actual Income from Asset is higher and so the Housing Authority will count $1000 in income from the asset. This would result in a $25 dollar increase to the family portion of the rent.

If the family did not take money from the trust each year;

Actual Income from Asset: $0
Passbook rate anticipated income from asset: ($20,000 x .03)= $600

In this case, the passbook rate anticipated income from asset is higher and so the Housing Authority will count $600 in income from the asset. This would result in a $15 dollar increase to the family portion of the rent.

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IS THE UNIT THAT I WANT TO RENT AFFORDABLE?

THE HOUSING AUTHORITY WILL REVIEW THE REQUEST FOR TENANCY APPROVAL (RTA) TO MAKE SURE THAT THE UNIT WILL BE “AFFORDABLE”

Your rent and utilities cannot exceed 40% of your monthly adjusted income when you move in. If adjustments to the rent portion or utility responsibilities are approved after the initial lease period, the gross rent may exceed 40% of the family’s monthly adjusted income.

working together to create AFFORDABLE HOUSING solutions

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