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If you want to know how to apply for Section 8 housing, you will find that the program is administered locally by authorized public housing agencies (PHAs), even though it is federally funded. To learn how to sign up for Section 8, you will need to go through your local or regional PHAs to apply. If you have any questions about your eligibility or details about the process of how to apply for housing assistance you can speak to representatives from your local PHAs for answers and support. Before speaking with a representative make sure you learn the basics about the Section 8 application process and the information and documentation associated with it. Seniors who want to sign up for housing assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can significantly cut possible delays and avoid complications with their application by getting their information and supporting evidence before starting.

Learn About Section 8 Applications

Applications for Section 8 housing are available from your local PHA, and to start your application, you can contact a PHA representative by phone, by email, or in person.  If you want to register for Section 8 housing program assistance you will need to share documents that prove eligibility within a limited period after turning in your application. To apply for Section 8 housing you will need to bring documents to prove three things:

  • Family composition
  • Income
  • Age and disability status

These elements on the Section 8 application help representatives at local PHA offices determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for housing assistance. Also, although every resident who qualifies can sign up for HUD housing assistance, a few applicants can be considered first based on this information.

Learn About Section 8 Family Composition Information

To sign up for Section 8, applicants will have to show that they and their families meet HUD’s family composition rules. The Section 8 application will ask people to give details about each individual in the household. How a family is made up will impact not only the decisions about what size and type of housing an applicant can receive rental assistance for, but also whether a person or a family qualifies for preferential treatment as set by the local PHA’s market-specific rules. HUD regulations define a family as a person or group of persons that live together.

If a person or family applying for housing assistance has an “elderly family” or “disabled family,” then they may get preferential treatment. PHAs are authorized by HUD to screen applicants that apply for Section 8 housing program assistance through additional, market-specific rules and preference guidelines established by the PHA’s administrative plan. These additional policy guidelines can also allow different combinations of persons to qualify as a family unit. Information about region-specific rules can only be gotten from local PHA representatives. HUD does not discriminate (or allow PHAs to discriminate) by sexual orientation (actual or perceived), gender identity or marital status. If you suspect discrimination of any kind, you can file a housing discrimination complaint.

Seniors applying for housing assistance can be asked to show some or all of the following records, as applicable, along with their applications:

  • Marriage licenses
  • Birth certificates or adoption records
  • Foster care records
  • Employment contracts or pay stubs for all household earners
  • Proof of address for all claimed members of the applicant’s family

For the Section 8 application purposes, children who have been temporarily removed and assigned to foster care will be considered as part of the family unit by HUD. Families signing up for HUD housing programs will have to include these children in their applications. Any information that proves the children’s situations, such as birth certificates and court records, can also be asked for. Download our free guide to learn which documents you may need during the Section 8 application process.

Learn About Family Income Requirements for Section 8

Adjusted gross annual household incomes from individuals and families will also have to be compared to HUD income limits as part of the PHA’s process to determine eligibility. During the Section 8 application process, families can be categorized as low income, very low income or low income and benefiting from other government programs. Income limits are updated annually and operate on a sliding scale, which takes into account both income and family size. To sign up for Section 8 assistance, you will need to share documents that prove your income status. If you need examples of the documentation requested to apply for Section 8 housing, download our detailed housing guide for seniors.

Learn About Section 8 Disability Qualifications

People signing up for HUD housing assistance will be screened to see if they meet any disability eligibility requirements. If you have a disability, the type of housing you can get will be impacted. Individuals applying for housing assistance will be examined according to how HUD determines disability status. Because of this, you will need to submit documents like financial or medical records of any claimed disability that show a medical diagnosis of a physical or mental impairment, and that prove that this impairment does not allow or seriously limits your opportunities for gainful employment or that shows a terminal or chronic nature of the disability/impairment. If you are legally blind, you will need share additional documents during the Section 8 application process at the discretion of the PHA.