In order to receive assistance, you must meet all the pre-determined Section 8 requirements in Illinois. This includes citizenship, residency and income requirements. In addition, you must be able to follow the rules of the program and produce information when it is requested by your Public Housing Agency (PHA). Reporting information accurately is crucial. Otherwise, your application may be denied.
The IL Section 8 qualifications for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program are administered by the state Department of Children and Family Services (DCF). As such, helping families get back on their feet is a priority for the department. By learning the requirements of the program, applicants will gain a better idea of whether they may qualify.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Illinois?
In order to meet Section 8 eligibility in Illinois, you must first prove that you reside in the state. Secondly, you must prove that you are a citizen or a legal non-citizen.
To demonstrate your citizenship, you may be asked to display a driver’s license, U.S. birth certificate or list your Social Security Number (SSN) on the application form. If you are a non-citizen, you must present proof of your legal status.
Please note that you do not necessarily need an SSN to apply for the HCV program. However, your PHA may still request one or require a verifiable substitute.
Keep in mind that legal non-citizens who apply must also meet the Section 8 income limits along with the other requirements. For instance, your household must meet the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of a family.
For the purposes of the HCV program, a family is a group of individuals who live together. Thus, household members do not necessarily have to be related by blood.
By definition, the HUD has different categories of families. Generally, qualifying family compositions include:
- A family in which one or all household members are seniors
- A family in which one or all household members have disabilities
- Families with or without children
In addition, you will have Section 8 housing eligibility only if you and your household members pass a background check. Your application will be rejected if criminal activity is found on your background check, such as:
- Drug-related crimes
- Violent crimes
- Illegal possession of a firearm
What are the Illinois Section 8 income limits?
One of the most important Section 8 housing requirements in Illinois is the income criteria. In order to qualify for housing vouchers, your household’s income must not exceed 50 percent of the median income in your county. The median income is the income level that falls halfway between all household incomes in your area.
According to the Section 8 income guidelines, applicants with extremely low income may have a greater chance of receiving housing vouchers. This is because all PHAs are required to offer 75 percent of their vouchers to extremely low-income families.
To calculate your household’s income, combine the gross earnings of all working family members. You may make this calculation based on monthly or annual earnings. In addition, your PHA may take certain deductions into account.
It is likely that you will be asked to report forms of unearned income as well, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, benefits from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and more.
In addition to these Section 8 requirements regarding income, you will also be required to meet asset criteria. To clarify, the value of your total assets must not go above a certain amount. Countable assets include:
- Stocks, trusts and bonds.
- Cash on hand.
- Money in bank accounts.
- Property beyond your current home.
Vehicles are typically not considered assets for the purposes of the HCV program. This is because most families need vehicles to get to work, take children to school, visit doctors and perform other daily functions. However, vehicles that are worth over a certain amount may be taken into consideration in the assets calculation. To learn more about the income requirements for Section 8, download our comprehensive guide.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Illinois?
To help your local PHA determine whether you meet the Section 8 qualifications, you must present certain documents to your caseworker. Typically, you will be required to bring these documents with you to your interview.
On the other hand, if you wish to start the application process for Section 8 in person, you may verify your documents with a caseworker before your interview takes place. To prove your citizenship or non-citizen status, you must bring one of the following:
- S. driver’s license or birth certificate
- Valid U.S. visa, if applicable
- Permanent resident card
- Admitted refugee form issued by the DHS
- A court decision or a letter from a DHS asylum officer granting asylum
- Certain other documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Your Section 8 eligibility in Illinois will also be affected by your ability to produce the following:
- Proof of residency, such as a lease agreement
- Proof of housing expenses, such as a utility bill
- Employment verification letter or a recent paycheck
- Medical expense documents if you are a senior or have a disability
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to present additional documentation. For example, if you have countable resources, you must provide documents that show how much those resources are worth.
Which Illinois Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
If an applicant meets the Section 8 income limits and other requirements, he or she must agree to comply with the HCV housing selection rules. For instance, families that qualify for vouchers may select new homes from a list of housing units in their area.
Moreover, they may stay in their current homes and use their vouchers on their current rental costs. However, all housing units used by HCV recipients must be approved by the local PHA.
In order for a housing unit to be approved, it must meet the HCV program’s health and safety standards. This means the unit will be checked by an HCV worker before it is listed as an approved home. It also means that the landlord responsible for the unit has been screened and is willing to participate in the HCV program.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
If your PHA determines that you do not meet Section 8 housing eligibility in Illinois, you will receive a denial notice in the mail. At this point, you may re-apply at a later date or request an informal review. This informal review will give you the chance to explain why you believe the decision was wrong.