The gift rules for HUD and Section 8 are different than the rules in most other benefits programs.
Frequency of Gifts
Unlike other programs, HUD programs focus on the frequency of gifts, rather than the amount of the gift.
No problem: Someone gives you $500 all at once. This will usually not be considered income.
Possible problem: Someone gives you $50 per month for ten months in a row. This would likely be considered income.
Also unlike other programs, HUD will count if someone does not give you money but instead pays your bills. For example: If someone is paying your medical bills, most programs will not count this as income as long as no money ever goes to you or your bank account. However, if it happens regularly or frequently, HUD may still count this as income.
🌷 ABLE Accounts – ABLE accounts can be opened by anyone who first became disabled before age 26. Your age now does not matter. HUD will exclude all income or assets in an ABLE account. If someone gives gifts into your ABLE account, this will not count, no matter how frequent the gifts are. Warning: If you receive the money and then place it into the ABLE account yourself, it is still considered income, but it won’t be considered an asset once it is in the account.
🌷 Special Needs Trust – There are special laws and policies in place that protect special needs trusts. Someone can give you money into a trust, or you can inherit money this way, and it will not affect HUD or most other benefits if the trust is properly written. Gifts into a special needs trust will not count as income for HUD housing. However, a few Housing Authorities have a (somewhat evil) rule that withdrawals from a special needs trust will count as income.
🌷 Loans from friends or family or any other source do not count as income. However, if you save the money instead of spending it, it will start to count as a resource. Loans must be properly documented with a contract signed (in most cases, contract would need to be signed before the money is given to you).
HUD has national rules, but individual Housing Authorities have discretion to set their own rules as well. Please check the rules for the HUD program in your area.
More rules on what forms of income does and does not count: How to Calculate (and sometimes lower) Rent in HUD Housing