The Section 8 requirements in Pennsylvania are extensive. You must meet not only the income guidelines, but also the citizenship and residency guidelines. Consequently, it is important to review these requirements before you apply. Doing so may save you time and help you decide whether the application is worth your time.
These PA Section 8 qualifications are reviewed and maintained by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which runs the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Each county in the state has its own Public Housing Agency (PHA). Thus, you will be more prepared if you understand the eligibility requirements from both state and federal perspectives. To learn more about the different requirements for this program, continue reading below.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Pennsylvania?
Your Section 8 eligibility in PA depends in part on whether you live in the state. It also depends on your citizenship status. According to the HUD, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal non-citizen in order to receive housing choice vouchers.
In general, each member of your household must have a Social Security Number (SSN). If a member of your household does not have one, he or she must provide proof that an application has been submitted with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Non-citizen applicants must also prove that they are residing in the country legally by presenting a federally-issued document. The document must not be expired.
Secondly, qualified applicants must not exceed the Section 8 income limits in Pennsylvania. These income limits are reviewed on an annual basis.
An applicant’s household must also meet the definition of a family, as explained under the state PHA rules. This is because some PHAs in the state will give an applicant with multiple family members preference over an applicant living alone. Preference is also given to seniors and people with disabilities.
According to the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the definition of a family for the purposes of the HCV program includes:
- Two or more people who are related by blood or marriage or two people who can prove they are in a stable relationship.
- A senior or a person with a disability who lives with an aide.
- A senior or a person with a disability who lives alone.
Finally, an applicant’s Section 8 housing eligibility depends on whether he or she passes a background check. Applicants with a record of drug-related crimes, violent crimes or illegal possession of a firearm will not qualify for vouchers.
What are the Pennsylvania Section 8 income limits?
While you must meet all the Section 8 housing requirements in PA, it is especially important for you to meet the income requirements. Generally, your household’s income must not be above 50 percent of the median income in your county. To calculate your income, you must combine the earnings of each working person in your household.
The Section 8 income guidelines also state that extremely low-income families may receive preference. In other words, a household with an income that does not exceed 30 percent of the median income in the area will have a higher chance of receiving vouchers.
Many PHA websites in the state also provide exact income limits depending on the size of the household. For instance, two-person families living in Altoona county may qualify for Section 8 only if their incomes do not exceed $25,300.
Note: You will also be asked to disclose any unearned income you receive from other federal assistance programs. This includes:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program benefits.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
You must report earnings from other federal programs as well, if applicable. These earnings may or may not count toward your total income calculation.
Finally, the Section 8 requirements state that you must disclose assets and resources that can easily be converted into cash. This includes:
- Stocks and bonds.
- Money in checking or savings accounts.
- Property you own besides your current home.
- Certain vehicles.
It should be noted that any vehicles you own are not likely to be factored into your eligibility. To gain a better understanding of the requirements for Section 8, download our guide.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Pennsylvania?
The rules of the Section 8 qualifications require you to bring certain documents to your interview. These will help your caseworker verify the information you provide, and they include:
- Proof of citizenship, such as a U.S. driver’s license, birth certificate or state ID.
- Proof of legal non-citizenship, such as a visa, permanent resident card, admitted refugee form and other approved documents.
- Proof of residency in the state, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.
- Proof of employment, such as a paycheck or employment verification letter.
In order to have Section 8 eligibility in Pennsylvania, you may need to provide additional documentation depending on your circumstances. For instance, you may need to display proof of enrollment in school if you are a student.
Which Pennsylvania Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
After reviewing the Section 8 income limits and other rules in PA, you must review the housing requirements. Then, after you are approved for vouchers and reach the top of the waitlist, you must begin searching for a new home or request to remain in your current home.
If you want to search for a new home, you may consult an approved housing list. The housing unit you select must cost a reasonable amount and it must meet the HCV program’s safety standards. Your local PHA must approve the home by sending a staff member to perform an inspection.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
Applicants may not have Section 8 housing eligibility for a variety of reasons. If an applicant receives a denial letter, he or she is allowed to dispute the results by contacting the local PHA.
Most PHAs will suggest an informal hearing. During the hearing, the applicant may state his or her case and provide evidence, if necessary.