Your Maryland Section 8 eligibility depends on several different factors, which include income, family composition and legal status in the U.S. Most of the Section 8 qualifications are determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, this program is run at the local level by public housing agencies (PHAs). Therefore, when you apply for assistance, a local PHA will determine whether or not you are qualified.
Because this HUD housing program is administered by separate agencies, it is important to keep in mind that the rules and requirements may vary depending on where you apply. For instance, certain PHAs have additional Section 8 requirements besides the main rules set by HUD. Read below to learn more about qualifying for rental help in Maryland.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Maryland?
In order to meet Section 8 housing eligibility in Maryland, it is important to understand the HUD’s definition of “family.” Overall, a family can be composed of two or more people who live together, regardless of their marital status or whether they have children. Moreover, you may qualify as a family if you are a single person, provided that you:
- Are a senior.
- Have a disability.
- Have been displaced from home.
- Are the remaining member of a family that receives rental assistance.
Under the Section 8 requirements in Maryland, you are not required to be a resident of the state to qualify for the program. However, you are more likely to be approved for a voucher when applying for housing assistance through a local agency. This is because most PHAs have policies about helping local applicants first.
Even though your residency status will not disqualify you, meeting Section 8 eligibility in MD depends on your legal status in the U.S. As such, at least one person in your family must be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status.
Certain categories of non-citizens will be eligible, but not all. In any case, each member of your household must have a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to qualify.
In addition to the basic Section 8 requirements, a PHA may check whether you meet certain additional qualifications. For example, housing agencies may look for any criminal history before deeming you eligible for a voucher.
These requirements can vary from one PHA to the next due to the fact that each of these organizations is administered independently. If you find that you are unable to qualify for assistance through one PHA, you may find that you are eligible when you apply through a different agency.
In any case, you can only meet the Section 8 qualifications in Maryland if you are in good standing with other federal housing programs. This means that you cannot have been banned from the Section 8 program, public housing or other government housing for committing program violations in the past.
What are the Maryland Section 8 income limits?
Under the Section 8 income guidelines in MD, you must typically earn no more than 50 percent of the median family income for your city, county or local area. These income limits are locally-based due to the fact that earnings can vary from one part of the state to the next.
By law, PHAs are required to save 75 percent of their vouchers for applicants who earn no more than 30 percent of the median income. Because the majority of vouchers are reserved for applicants with the lowest income, you have a higher chance of being approved if your income falls below this level.
Keep in mind that the Maryland Section 8 income limits are subject to change each year. Furthermore, income levels can vary depending on where you apply. Learn more about the Section 8 income guidelines by reading our detailed guide here.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Maryland?
If you believe that you meet the Section 8 qualifications in Maryland, you may apply for housing assistance. During the application process, you will need to verify information such as:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Citizenship or legal immigrations status
The types of documents you will be required to provide may vary slightly. However, most applicants can meet these requirements by submitting a birth certificate, Social Security card, tax return, bank statement, pay stub, benefit award letter or other similar paperwork.
In any case, be mindful that you will need to verify the Section 8 eligibility of each family member. Therefore, be prepared to provide documentation for everyone in your household to the PHA.
Which Maryland Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
After meeting the MD Section 8 requirements and receiving a voucher, it is your responsibility to find a home or apartment to rent. In some cases, you may be able to use your voucher where you currently live. Other times, you will need to move elsewhere.
Any type of rental unit may meet the Section 8 housing requirements, including apartments, single-family homes, duplexes and other units. No matter which type of unit you choose to rent, it must:
- Be rented at a fair rate compared to non-assisted units in the area.
- Be leased out by a landlord willing to take Section 8 assistance.
- Pass an inspection using HUD’s health and safety standards.
Your local PHA will be required to make sure that the unit of your choice meets all of these requirements. As a general rule, you will not be allowed to move in until the inspection and other verifications are complete.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
If you do not meet the Maryland Section 8 income limits and certain other requirements, the PHA will notify you of your application denial. You have the right to appeal the decision if you wish. The housing authority that denied your application will provide instructions for requesting a hearing.
There are a variety of affordable housing options in Maryland that you may be able to qualify for instead. Different programs have their own income limits and eligibility criteria. If you find that you cannot meet the Section 8 qualifications in Maryland, you may consider contacting local charities or community groups that provide rental assistance.