How is My Rent Calculated? (HUD, Section 8 & Low Income Housing)

46522819_1934958499872711_5959884464619257856_nArt by Robin Mead

Math by Delphinium

How much rent do you pay if you live in Section 8, HUD Housing, Public Housing, Rural Rental Assistance, or have a Housing Voucher?

The simple answer is: You pay 30% of your income. Your income is $100, you pay $30. Your income is $1,000, you pay $300. Done!

The complicated answer is: The simple answer is not exactly right. It gives you a general idea, but if you want to get an exact figure, keep reading:

Tip for Housing Vouchers

The formula below will show you how much rent you will pay each month. If you are trying to figure out how much rent your voucher will pay, look here instead: How Much Is My Housing Voucher Worth? Which House or Apartment Can I Rent?

How Much Rent You Pay: Step One

Write down your income

Include income for everyone in your household.

Include everything: Work income, disability payments, Tanf, child support, plus anyone who gives you anything or pays for anything on a regular or recurring basis

Step Two

Take stuff out

Minus everything not countable

Examples of things that might not count: Sporadic income, one-time gifts or money, most student financial aid, some forms of income from children/teens/students, live in aide income, food stamps, many forms of utility assistance, income for disabled people returning to work, etc

Step Three

Get a yearly number

(Example: $1,000 per month x 12 months = $12,000)

Step Four

Congrats! You now know your “countable yearly income.” On to the next step…

Step Five

Deduct things:

🔹Minus $400 IF disabled household (head of household, co-head or spouse is disabled)

🔹Minus $480 PER child

🔹Minus daycare expenses… only if needed so parent can work or go to school (for child under 12)

🔹 Minus medical expenses IF head of household is disabled (after 3% of your annual income).

Tip: You can also deduct medical expenses for children and other household members… even if they are not disabled

Step Six

Congrats! You now know your “annual adjusted income.” On to the next step…

Step Seven

Divide by 12= Monthly adjusted income

Step Eight

x 30%

(Example: $1,000 x 30% = $300)

Step Nine

Minus utility allowance for any utilities YOU pay (ignore the utilities your landlord pays)

Tip for vouchers: You have to wait until you find a place to rent so that you can see which utilities you pay and which ones the landlord pays. Then you have to get a copy of the utility allowance chart from your Housing Authority. Heres how utility allowances work.

For buildings: ask the property manager how much is deducted for utilities.

Step Ten 

Congrats! You now know your “total tenant payment.” THIS IS WHAT YOU PAY

(Sort of. There are a few ways you can sometimes wind up paying more. These are listed below)

Exceptions: More Expensive Housing Programs

The above formula does not apply to everyone who lives in low income housing. It only applies to:

  • People with vouchers
  • HUD subsidized apartments
  • HUD subsidized apartments
  • Project-based apartments
  • USDA rural rental assistance

If you are in a different type of affordable housing program, you may be paying higher rent. The solution is to look for a subsidized apartment. Here’s where you can find one: How to Find Super Cheap Housing WITHOUT a Housing Voucher

Exceptions: Other Problems

If your rent still seems too high, there may be a different problem. If you can figure out the problem, you might be able to figure out the solution:

🌷 Some housing programs charge a minimum rent – often $25 or $50. This means that even if you have $0 income, you may still be charged a minimum. In some cases, you can request a hardship exemption: Letter Requesting No Minimum Rent

Think They Made a Mistake?

If you want more details on how your rent was calculated, try requesting a copy of your Family Report. Some Housing Authorities will automatically send this to you each year.

If you think there is a problem, you can ask your worker to meet with you to go over the numbers. Or you can email your worker and state what you think may be incorrect.

You also have the right to appeal if you think your rent is wrong. You can write or email your worker and/or their supervisor stating that you would like to appeal your rent decision and (ideally) write down where you think a mistake was made.

If your income changes, you don’t have to appeal. Just contact your worker and say “I’ve had a change in income and I’d like to request a redetermination on my rent.”

If you continue to have problems: How to Get Help or File Complaints for Housing Problems

Learn More

🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

123 thoughts on “How is My Rent Calculated? (HUD, Section 8 & Low Income Housing)”

  1. Hello I’m hoping you can give me some insight because I can not seem to get an answer elsewhere. My childrens dad has not been working due to surgery so he haven’t paid support in 13 months (starting April of 2020. However last month he paid about 2/3 of what he owed. He paid paying his normal bi weekly amount since. When I reported my income to my housing office it increased my rent to almost 75% of what I normally get in child support. I guess my question is how is back pay calculated. That high amount was only a one time payment not what I receive monthly thru the year. Was this calculated wrong. I pray you can guide me in the right path because my rent is too much I have to give them one entire check plus a part of the next just to pay rent. This doesn’t seem right


    1. If your rent was reduced from April 2020 until now, then they could take the position that you owe the rent portion (probably 30%) of that total lump-sum, since you would have paid it if you had been receiving the monthly child support. BUT–you should only be paying off that portion, not an ongoing monthly rent hike forever. AND, you can protest that the extreme increase in rent is creating a “rent burden”…I believe HUD has rules against that. You can ask “How long will I be paying extra?”, “What is the total amount I have to pay off?”, and “What month will my rent return to normal?”

      On the other hand, if your rent was never reduced when you weren’t receiving the child support, then you owe nothing on the lump-sum and now that the normal amount of child support has resumed, you would continue paying your usual portion based on your Total Adjusted Gross Income.

      You could TRY arguing that the lump-sum money was a ONE-TIME thing, and is therefore EXEMPT since it meets the HUD definition for income that is irregular.

      You should talk to your housing office and find out a) what the reasoning is behind the increase (the WHY), and b) how they calculated it, and c) if you can appeal it. Good luck!


  2. Hello there and thank you for creating this website.
    I have a question regarding the $300 boost that came on top of the pandemic unemployment compensation. As we know that in 2020 the $600 was not counted as income and also the $300 that President Trump instructed FEMA to pay for the unemployed. On December 27th an extension of the $300 was in effect to end by March 14 or for some people April 5TH, my worker send me a letter in April saying that because I did not report this new $300 I should pay $1560 for the previous months and increased my future rent! I was shocked because this $300 is just like the $600 and the previous $300 and also it wasn’t a secret that this amount of money was received by all people who receive PUA. Could you please tell me if my caseworker is correct in considering the new $300 as income or not?
    Thank you.


  3. Hello,
    I just got section 8 for family reunification with my four year old son. He’s coming home in April. I am in the middle of a wrongful termination suit that could possibly settle this year or next year. Could be next month or next year who knows. My lawyer is trying to get $50,000. Her fee is 45%. If she gets the $50,000 and a good chunk of the money is for lost wages, I’ve read this counts as income. Am I going to lose the housing i literally just got and finally have after so long of waiting. The thought of this breaks my heart and keeps me up at night. How can I give my son this amazing new home then have it taken away. Please help. Can I put it in a trust? Or have it given to me slowly? Please please help.


  4. Please help how much money cani have in my account to not be disqualified. I get 1021xa mth from ssd and have 8 k in savungs account. I dont make deposits to it. Will i be disqualified

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So i have a question i kust recently was approves section 8 my monthly income is 800 and in Oklahoma for a three bedroom they give you a total of 1115. If my rent is 1000 a month how much do i know i will pay in rent ?


      2. I’m a single mom of one child, that is bipolar but not considered disabled. We’ve been on section 8 waitlist for going on 8 years. I’m trying to get my ducks lined up in anticipation of receiving the gift of a section 8 voucher. I’m a freelance hairstylist, My yearly income is roughly 25,000. I have no retirement but I have stocks worth 18,000. Will I be forced to cash out the 18,000 I was hoping to save as a retirement and have it considered income or will only the yearly interest/ dividends be calculated? I have no clue how any of this works but I do know 18,000 is worth much less than what section 8 will be in the long run. Also, do I need to have a minimum income/employment to be eligible I would greatly appreciate any advice.


    1. If you have a Sec 8 and you are using it for an apt that is also Tax Credit (below Market Rate rent), there will probably be some extra paperwork for your annual apt Tax Credit recertification. There is a question in the recertification about whether you have assets of more than $5000, and if so, there is more to do to recertify.

      Also, declaring that you have that $8K probably makes you ineligible for Medicaid (which can pay your Medicare premium) and for Food Stamps…both of which you would probably qualify for otherwise if your total monthly income is just the $1021/mo SSDI. (I am saying this from actual experience as I used to be in a similar situation with a similar SSDI income.)

      Let me suggest a few things:

      1) The amount of money you keep in banks is theoretically “findable”. In practice, they may not search unless they have reason to think you are not reporting all of it. IF they *do* search, they will likely only ask the biggest banks in your area (not all gazillion little rinky-dink banks and credit unions with one branch in your state, and not the online ones). But, if you don’t report money in a bank account and they find it, they could penalize you for lying on your annual recertification(s).

      2) The amount of money you keep at home or in a safe deposit box is known only to you. They only know what you tell them.

      3) Whatever you tell them, verbally and on forms in writing, BE CONSISTENT. *Federal* benefit programs (like SSDI and HUD) are starting to coordinate and share data with *state* benefit programs (like Food Stamps and Medicaid).

      Also, if you close an account that you have previously reported, be sure to get proof that you closed it. Submit a copy to your DSHS office if you are getting any state benefits like Food Stamps. Otherwise, they can keep asking for a statement from that account and cancel your benefits if you can’t provide one. (True story.)

      4) If you get one or more Cashiers Checks with the money in your savings account, the money will effectively “disappear” (it’s taken out of the account). It’s like buying a money order, but it’s a little more secure and they’re good for a longer period of time. They cost a bit more ($4-6 each), but you can sometimes find a branch willing to waive the fee. If the checks are made out to you, they will be safer than having the money in cash.

      The checks can be kept safe and private in a little safe in your apt or in a safe deposit box or in your sock drawer. (My aunt used to stash emergency cash in a sock in my uncle’s sock drawer!) Just make sure to deposit or cash the Cashiers Check(s) within three years no matter what the check says on it, because some states have a three year limit on how long they’re good for. You can always put it into another “fresh” check.

      If you put the money into Cashiers Checks, it’s best to do it increments so that a) the money doesn’t disappear all at once and b) you have smaller checks so that you can just cash or deposit one or two of them if you have an emergency, instead of having to deposit or cash the whole $8K if you don’t need to. (Example: you might do 8 checks of $1K each or 4 checks of $2K each or 4 checks of $1500 each, $500 emergency cash, and $1000 in a high-interest savings account like DCU at 6%!)

      Whatever you do, kudos to you for saving your money and keeping it for when you really need it. So many low income people don’t handle their money well and then suffer when an emergency comes up. Keep saving when you can, but enjoy a little of it as well.


  5. My adult son has section 8 and only $280.00 monthly income from State Aid, pays $0.00 rent with section 8. He is disabled and keeps getting rejected for SSI. His health is deteriorating, and I think he may get SSI, this time around. How does the lump sum, affect his Section 8, approx $15,000 after lawyers 25%. And how much of his SSI monthly payment of $890.00 will go towards his rent portion??


    1. Lump sum back pay will have no impact. However, it needs to be spent or put in an ABLE account within 9 months or it will impact his SSI check.

      The page above has the formula for calculating his new rent. Hope it goes great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi I am disabled and on ssi and have my youngest son living with me who is 15 but I owe back child support as well for my older 2 children that my abuser ended up getting when I wasn’t able to make it to court. He is the reason am disabled.. Anyhow, My kids with him are grown now but I still owe 60,000 that accumulated and when I go back to work, if I go back to work, I would like to know if section 8, will deduct the monthly child support of $664, that I have to pay cause it’s $664 a month when I start working again. And it would take me 7 years to pay this off if I pay the $664 a month. I have section 8 at this moment. Does child support pay out, count as a reduction with section 8.


        1. I’m sorry to hear you are in the situation. To my knowledge, section 8 does not deduct child support paid, which I agree is a bad policy. I hope that you might be able to contact your local legal aid program to see if you are eligible for any kind of assistance with your situation.


    2. It is likely that your state aid office has your son sign a document every year that says they get to “recover” the money they paid him if he gets retroactive (“lump-sum”) SSI for that same period. (This does not happen with SSDI, only with SSI.) This means that in addition to the lawyers portion (which can be as much as 40%, but is capped at $6K last I looked), the state DSHS/aid office may take another big chunk of that lump-sum.

      The SSI benefit for 2021 is $794/mo. Some states supplement that, but I’m not sure where you are getting the $890 from.

      Your son will likely be paying 25-30% of his Total Adjusted Gross Income toward rent. If he gets $794, that’s about $200-240/mo rent. If he gets more income, he’ll pay more rent.

      P.S. Despite what you have probably heard, it *is* possible to win your disability case without a lawyer. I wouldn’t engage a lawyer until you reach the appeal stage. If it’s granted before then, the lawyer would have done nothing. You only need them for the appeal before a judge…and if you can make the argument yourself, not even then.


    3. Ann–One more tip if it isn’t too late: If your son finally wins his case or you end up appealing to a judge, you *may* be able to argue that his disability was bad enough previously that he should have been granted SSI on an earlier attempt. This argument is apparently not used often (a free legal aid person thought it might be a possibility and when I used it myself, my judge seemed to think it was an unusual, but interesting argument). If they go back and review the earlier claims and agree, your son could end up getting a substantial lump-sum. Like enough to make a big down payment on a home! (Some Housing Authorities will allow you to use a Sec 8 voucher for a mortgage, but you have to ask and be persistent.)

      Also, remember that if the money stays in his name, his new “assets” will probably disqualify him from Food Stamps, Medicaid, and other state benefits until his Total Assets falls below the thresholds for each of those programs.


  6. I have a question and I hope I’m in the right places for some answers lol
    I live in apartment in South Haven, Michigan. About 3 months into our year lease, my husband and I lost our jobs(Covid) but he was able to draw unemployment. 4 months into our lease we had our son. I had asked the manager if we could update our lease because of the job loses and a new family member. Our rent is based off our income and how many people we support in the house hold. With us both working we paid full price. She said no you cant because if I let you change your info I would have to let everyone. ???
    Now, I could be wrong but I feel we have that right to update our lease. I mean if we didn’t make a full payment and our rent was adjusted to what we could afford and all the sudden we made 30$ an hour, they would want to know so they could get there full money amount.
    Can they tell me I cant update my info? If our rent could have been lowered due to job loss’ and a addition to our family, i could be using that over payment of rent for the last 8 months for our rent we cant afford now.


    1. If you aren’t in section 8 housing, which it doesn’t sound like you are, you aren’t allowed to just change the terms of your lease. You signed a binding contract and you were qualified based on your income. They are correct, if they changed it for you, they would have to change it for everyone. Some companies will offer a repayment plan, however that usually entails you paying more since you couldn’t afford to pay for the previous months. You can also surrender the property to them and sometimes they will sign a mutual agreement releasing you from any obligation to the home. It really stinks that you lost your jobs and are in this situation. Unfortunately, they still have to pay employees and run a business. Think of it this way, you loan your friend your car because they wrecked theirs. They are paying you to borrow it, just like if they rented a car. They keep prolonging returning the car because they haven’t found another and stop paying you because they lost their job. Are you going to just let them have the car for free? Highly doubt it. Talk with your landlord and discuss the options that you have.


    2. Crystal: You said your rent is based off your income and the size of your household. That indicates you are in a *subsidized* apt. where you pay a percentage of your income toward rent and some HUD program picks up the rest. HUD rules say that when you report a change in income (up or down) &/or a change in household size, your rent is supposed to be recalculated.

      It is not your lease that you are updating, it is simply the rent calculation for your portion. If the subsidy that is picking up the rest of your rent is coming from a Housing Authority (which is the way most HUD subsidies are administered), it is the *Housing Authority* you need to speak to. Let them know that you reported the changes to your apt. manager who misinformed you that nothing could be done. Give them the dates that your Total Household Income changed and the date your Household Size changed. Ask them to “educate” your manager! (There may be others in your building that are being hurt by your managers’ ignorance.)

      You should get a letter from the HA letting you know what your new rent is and hopefully what they are going to pay retroactively to your landlord for the subsidy portion (called the “HAP”–Housing Assistance Payment). Once you have that info, ask your landlord for a printout of your “ledger” account. That will show how much of a credit you have if they have received a retroactive amount from the HA. You may be able to skip rent payments entirely until the credit is drawn down!


  7. I live in NYCHA and it’s been one of the most confusing experiences ever, on par with SSI, Medicaid, and EBT struggles. My fam’s rent has always been lower than 30% (even besides this current pandemic), and I’m always thinking… this is awesome, but please don’t let them chase us for overpayment for THEIR mistakes — frankly, none of us could figure out what mistake happened to get their bizarre numbers! We only have SSI income and 1 source of wages. These are numbers that nearly never change. Then there’s a deduction for 1 disabled family member. The number is so easy to calculate, I really don’t understand what hidden rule there is that could get us lower rents than anticipated.

    Does anyone know if NYCHA can chase for overpayments? I’m new to NYCHA and I’m already bewildered.


      1. Good morning,

        If my weekly income is $81 due to unemployment during Covid but my current rent is 1100 for a two bedroom and I got approved for a three bedroom voucher (I have three kids under 10) with a Max rent of 910. Is it possible I can reside in the same unit? Or would my income have to be hire for this to be considered due to only being allowed to pay up to 40% of your income?


        1. Unfortunately I don’t see this working. The voucher is already too low and will get even lower if you have a two bedroom, and even lower than that if utilities are not included in rent.

          If someone is disabled and needs to stay in current housing for this reason, you can request an exception to the rules, but I fear even with an exception it may still be too expensive in this case.


          1. If my income increased do you think it would be possible? As I just got a job for $15.00 an hour full time 40 hours. So my yearly income would be $31,200 (follow up to my last post)


          1. One time or sporadic income will not count. If it’s regular income, for example income you get monthly or weekly, this will count in cause Your share of rent to increase.


  8. If I have a voucher of 1130 but the place I want to rent is 1290 and I make 2600 a month will they approve the difference?I live in Nevada.


      1. Hi I receive disability my income monthly is $839 and my daughter receives $2,127 monthly from SSI because her Dad passed away we live Mississippi and rent for low income housing has went up $574 when I moved here I was paying $17 for rent receiving food stamps and that stopped because of her income now I’m still paying the $574 and I have to have my meds and she is 16 yrs old how do I get the correct amount of rent that i’m suppose to be paying? And I pay my water & gas the electric bill also


      2. Hi I receive disability my income monthly is $839 and my daughter receives $2,127 monthly from SSI because her Dad passed away we live Mississippi and rent for low income housing has went up $574 when I moved here I was paying $17 for rent receiving food stamps and that stopped because of her income now I’m still paying the $574 and I have to have my meds and she is 16 yrs old how do I get the correct amount of rent that i’m suppose to be paying? And I pay for my own utilities!! 2 bedroom 1 bath!!


        1. As long as your daughter is living with you, her SSA check will be counted towards the rent. There is no way to change this. If she stops living there, that would change.


  9. sleepy girl, you ROCK! I will be referring everyone I come across who is new to disability &/or subsidized housing or still running into issues with managers, social support programs, etc. (which is pretty much all of us…it never ends ) So glad you have done this! I’ll be exploring the rest of your site and I’m sure I’ll be bookmarking multiple pages in it for my “I&R” (Information & Resources) folder that I use to advise others and refer to myself. Thank you so much. As I’m sure you know, there are SO many people out there, including even social workers and case managers, who don’t know this stuff or how to find it.


      1. Ah, I appreciate the invite (and the kudos…right back at you!)…but I don’t “do” Facebook. (I have many reasons….) If you wish, though, feel free to email me if something comes up you think I’d be interested in or could help with. If I have something to say on it, you’d have my permission to post it for me.

        Keep up the good work (there and here)! The whole system (housing, disability, low-income resources) is so fragmented, opaque, confusing, siloed, sometimes redundant but sometimes leaving gaps…the case workers and even “experts” often don’t have the whole picture or know how to get people help when they need it…so we, the “clients” need to learn this stuff, educate each other, and we often need to do the paperwork and advocacy for ourselves.

        I love sharing my knowledge and helping people help themselves. I believe you do, too. This website is excellent! I’m sure it has been tremendously helpful to many, many people. Thank you for doing it.


    1. For your tenant payment: Each state is the same…. but each apartment is different. You may have taken a place that includes a different amount or type of utilities or where the rent is higher or lower than the payment standard.

      For the value of the voucher: Yes, every area is different. Some places have different amounts for each different zip code.


      1. The Housing Authority that issues the Sec 8 voucher, has a “Voucher Payment Standard” that is determined for that area by HUD. (They may be able to bump it a little themselves or not.) HUD looks at that area’s Market Rate average rent for each size unit, the average utility costs, and the “AMI” (Area Median Income) to determine what they consider to be a reasonable rent and the “Utility Allowance”. The voucher amount is based on those figures.

        I believe it is that Voucher Payment Standard that is the MAXIMUM they will pay to the landlord; YOUR part of the rent will still be based on your income and the sum of your part and their part should equal the maximum rent you’ll be able to cover. If you want a place that is more expensive, you may be able to pay more than the usual 30% of your income, as explained in the article above.

        Expensive areas have higher voucher maximums, because rents are higher there; cheaper places have lower voucher maximums, and lower rents. Your share remains the same (with exceptions noted in the article).

        I have NEVER been able to get a straight answer or find Housing Authority staff who have this information! But if you google &/or dig around on the HUD website, you can usually find the voucher max. amount for your Housing Authority/area. The area covered by each Housing Authority is usually a City or County, sometimes even a larger area.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I live in a third if your income building it was my wife and I but she passed over a year ago our rent then was 821 shouldn’t it have gone down because it did not I’m still being charged 821 is this correct


    1. When you live in subsidized housing, your rent is always tied to your Total Household Income, taking into account Total Household Size, Utility Allowance, and some special deductions like “excessive” out-of-pocket” medical expenses and a $400/yr deduction for disabled people. With deductions, the rent you pay will usually come out to LESS than the 30% officially cited.

      ANY TIME Total Household Size &/or Total Household Income changes, you should report it to your landlord quickly. They are required to “recertify” you (recalculate your rent) then, even if it is not your usual recertification time. Income drops, rent will drop.

      If you notified them at the time, and your rent should have dropped, you should insist they credit you retroactively for your overpayments. Good luck!


  11. I just have a question so I have two kids that live with me on section 8 and I pay 40% of my income, I was wondering if I was to finance a car would the amount of rent that I pay drop or would it stay the same


  12. Hello, my father and his gf live in his apartments and both get social security. Mind you whatever the little amount increase the get in their checks their rent keeps going up. There is no change in their income nor has there been in years, they both like I said receive SS. At one point a few years back their rent was $500 and something not exactly sure and now they were told they have to pay 830.00! Why how can it keep going up when their income hasn’t? I need to find phone numbers or someone that can explain this to me because the people in the office at the apartment complex hasn’t given them a reason! How does someone next door with 5 people pay next to nothing yet 2 senior citizens keep having a rent increase?


    1. It’s possible they live in an “affordable” housing complex but don’t have a voucher. In this case the building is designed to be affordable to some set of people considered less well off, but may not be designed to be affordable for people with SSA income. In some such buildings you can get the rent reduced by reason of having lived there a while. Best of luck.


  13. I have section 8 and just found out I’m losing 400$ in child support because he’s not working. How much can you report in loss of Income to change rent lower.


      1. Hey quick question my rent is $2600 without section 8 and with section 8 it just got brought up to $800 A month from originally being $300 I live with my mother who gets SSDI in food stamps and she was getting survivors benefits. I work 40 hours but I also live with my brother who just recently finally turned 18. He got a good job for $30 An hour. they are paying him well but we took care of him for so long that he tells us he’s not quitting his job and housing told us that with his income we will make too much money and not qualify so our rent will go back up to 2600. All because he’s an adult now and working on the books. the mother no longer gets survivors benefits either. He’s being stubborn and if they take this away then we are screwed because he isn’t going to pay any actual bills. He’s young. What is our best bet? I’m not trying to knock his hustle but he’s only been at this company for a month since he graduated why screw over our whole family in the long run? Advice? Thank you!! He pays me $75 a week. She pays me $75 a week. I take care of the rest of the bills including utilities. Is he being selfish? I’ve been busting my butt the last four years making sure DCF didn’t take him away for my mother’s mental illness. Just spent hundreds on a grad party. He insists on keeping this job though while they yank housing away from us. What about the rest of us? Majority rules?


        1. I’m sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, this is something your family would need to work out. The head of household can request to have him removed from the voucher… but if he’s unwilling to move out or be off the voucher, I don’t know if there’s a way to force him to do so. There are special rules if domestic violence is involved.


        2. None of my bussiness but I would tell him he make too much money to stay there tell him your proud of his work effort and money amount but time to get his own place because it’s hurting you and your mom and you can’t allow that to happen either. There is laws that can remove him if he won’t voluntarily leave. He can get his on place or a couple of room mates. If he want go he is being selfish at that point and I would hate for ya to go a legal route to put him out but it’s not fair to ya and he’s grown at this point. Give him 30 days to go it’s time for him to man up. Best of luck and I will pray it dosent come to that but he wants his cake and eat it too and ya can’t afford to be homeless of a young persons selfishness.


    1. My husband ,my daughter and I live in subsidized apartment, my husband makes 17000 yearly but pays 642 a month in court ordered child support. We sometimes recieve 264 a month for my daughters child support. Company wont count what my husband pays but counts my daughters. Help


    2. Any time you have a change in your regular income (not just a one-time rise or drop), you should report it to your Sec 8 issuer (the Housing Authority). If your income drops, your rent will drop a proportionate amount; if it rises, it will probably rise a proportionate amount…assuming everything else (childcare, medical, etc expenses) stay the same. Don’t forget to report it to other government benefit programs as well. Your Food Stamps may go up, Medicaid, too. Don’t forget to apply for the federal once-a-year “energy assistance” program “LIHEAP” to help with your electric &/or gas bill.


  14. Hi I already posted this question last week but for some reason it never went through. Ok so me and my 20 year old disabled son have section8. My oldest son moved in with me and my worker raised my rent from $222 to $1145. My son only makes minimum wage for California about $2000 a month. My total rent is $1625. So his share will be $925. I just got the notice last week and it starts on the 1st of sept. First did she calculate this correctly? My only other income besides my sons is ssi $923 and snap $191. Is it normal for my son to pay half his income in rent? The gas and electric is $175 not including my sons car insurance, gas, food etc…


    1. Hi christine,

      Your son’s share should have been calculated at 30% of his income. You might try checking with your worker and asking why it was increased so much and what is causing your portion to be so high. I’m not able to tell if it is correct without knowing more about your deductions, payment standard, landlord rent, etc.


      1. My income annually is 16,176. I draw SSDI. I’m also keeping my 5 year old granddaughter and we do receive food stamps. I’m just wondering if I may be eligible for assists for my rent. I pay anywhere between 180 to 230 for electric. Wondering if I might


  15. My son receives Ssi and I receive Ssdi, They never included our income to determine rental payments in the 4 years I’ve had my voucher. I moved to a new place now they’re using both our income which I don’t mind paying due to it being a nicer more expensive area. However, I thought children that receive SSI were exempt when they determine your rental portion? Also why are they charging me now? My rent has always been 0 for 4 years now due to me being on SSDI and him being on SSI?


    1. They should have been including both incomes all along. I don’t know why your rent was 0.

      It may have been a mistake.

      It could have been that your income was not correctly listed on the forms?

      It might be because you are paying less utilities at the new place. But it would have to be a lot less?

      It could also be because you rented a more expensive place that is above payment standard.

      If your rent is above payment standard, in some cases it’s possible to request an exception to payment standard. There is a section that explains what this means and how to do that here. Hope something here helps🌷🌺 💗


  16. I live in Federal Public Housing because I am disabled. Today I signed to recertify my lease. For Household Income they use my SNAP benifts amount and my SSI amount. Are SNAP benifts income? Confused


    1. HUD-subsidized housing (“Public Housing”, Section 8, etc.) counts REPORTED, REGULAR (consistent, reliable) INCOME…NOT benefits. Food Stamps (aka SNAP), other Food Assistance programs, Energy Assistance (LIHEAP and others to help pay your electric bill), and other NON-CASH programs should never be included in your rent calculation. “Intermittent income” (a short-term “gig” or temp job, a “lump-sum” benefit, an occasional cash gift from someone, occasional babysitting money) is EXCLUDED.


  17. Hi I’m hoping you can help me with a answer before I call in to talk to someone. Ok so my 20 year old son is Autistic and we have a 2 bedroom voucher he gets $945 SSI and we get $191 food stamps. My oldest son who works moved back in with me since the pandemic and he makes minimum wage for San diego about $2000 a month. I reported it and I got a letter today raising my rent to $1.145 from $224 . How was this calculated because it’s more then 30% of our income. Do you think it was a mistake ? With the high SDG&E costs plus other monthly Bill’s we will barley make it and maybe not even have enough. What should I do my worker is sort of mean so I’m scared to call her


    1. Your disabled son’s SSI counts, the food stamps don’t. Your working son’s gross income counts. You and anyone else in the household who has income will have to report that and it will count. You can use the instructions in the article to calculate the (total) Tenant Rent. The Utility Allowance that is subtracted from the 30% of your total Adjusted Household Income, should be about the same as your actual SDG&E costs. (It will be an average of comparably sized households’ costs. Make sure you are getting the Utility Allowance for your new household size.)

      If the ONLY change in your household finances is your working son’s income, your rent should only have risen about $600/mo (30% of the $2000, if that is his gross income, not take-home pay).

      You should be able to request a copy of the Rent Calculation Worksheet every time your rent changes. You can ask to review it with your housing caseworker. You could start with a simple restatement of the facts via email (so you have a record) stating:

      “As I reported, my older son has moved in and we now have a Total Household Size of three, therefore, I assume there would be a change in the deduction for the Utility Allowance. As I reported, our Total Household Income now includes my older son’s Gross Earned Income of $2,xxx/mo.

      That is the only change in our income, so I assumed our rent would rise by about 30% of that amount (around $600/mo). I think there has been a mistake made in the new rent amount.

      Please provide me with the Rent Calculation Worksheet and the new Tenant Rent we should be paying.”

      Good luck. Dealing with Housing Authority caseworkers and errors is never easy in my experience. Ask questions and stand up for yourself. Go over her head if needed to get it resolved correctly. I have had to do this many times. It is worth it, even if it is scary and uncomfortable to do.


  18. My daughter just turned 18, and I have to renew my lease with Section 8. She is going to college full time and is working part time. Is there anyway I can stop them from using some if not all of her income? She’s trying to save her money to move and go to school. I was told by my worker when my son was attending out of state college that there was a form. But she then turned around and tried to use his FAFSA grant money for school as income into the household. He has since moved out. But I will not be able to afford my rent if this happens, and I don’t want my daughter to have to help because that will delay her in moving out. And I still have 2 other children to take care of.


  19. Hello , I have a question … I have 6 children and I do not have any income . I did get child support once last year of $400 and my rent share for section 8 was $69. But my worker said that he will adjust my rent payment because that was ot one time I reached out to him he never got back to me and this year I find out I owe my landlord $828 dollars of rent from last year . I spoke with my worker supervisor and she apologized to me and said I still have to pay my landlord $828 even though it was a mistake on them. Who can I go to who is higher than my worker and his supervisor because that is just not right at all that I have to pay my landlord all of that money when they was wrong and aware that the rent wasn’t being paid because my worker was supposed to adjust my rent and contact me back but has not until this year renewal ? Please help me


      1. I first just want to say thank you for creating this site. It’s very helpful!
        I’m living in a low income 1 bedroom nyc Mitchell lama apartment threw HUD. I don’t have a voucher that I can move with, I just have it in this building. I just found out I’m pregnant can I
        Report it now ? And will my rent decrease while pregnant or do I have to wait until my child is born? Should I expect the deduction to be $480 or does it depend on how much money I make?


  20. Hello , i am a single mother of 6 children . My 2 year old receives a disability check every month for $732. I am not working recently had a baby and I do not receive child support and I am not on welfare . I was told section 8 can not touch my minor daughter who is 2 years of age disability check . So for my renewal Of this year I have to pay rent $29… how are they calculating $29 ? Where is the $29 coming from ?


      1. Thank you so much for responding !

        However , will that mean i will be paying rent with her disability check with her being 3 years old ? i was told by another worker in new jersey that they can not touch her money because she is a minor along with my current worker… so what would they be calculating for me to pay rent and i do not have another income ?


  21. am a single mom with 2 kids 6 and 4. i work 40 hours a week get payed 16.54 a hour and kids father is deceased so i get 325 each for them will i still be qualified for section 8. i don’t get food stamps and i have to pay child care plus all my utility’s plus car note car insurance dental and vision. whats the limit you can make to get approved for section 8 3 people


    1. Section 8 vouchers and other subsidized housing is administered by your local Housing Authority. You may be able to apply to ANY Housing Authority if you want to live in their area. Generally, anyone with an income that is 80% of the local Area Median Income is technically qualified for Sec 8/subsidized housing, however, many Housing Authorities prioritize homeless &/or “Very Low Income” households with 30% of AMI &/or seniors or disabled. The priorities can change from year to year as well.

      In some large urban areas, the demand is so great that the HA’s only open their list (take applications) for a short period once every two or more years! Then they may hold a lottery because they don’t have enough vouchers for everyone. In my area, there are 25,000 people who apply and only 2500 that get chosen in the lottery to go on the wait list!

      It is ALWAYS worth trying for a Section 8–and any other subsidized housing–since if you get it guarantees your rent will be tied to your income–make more money and you’ll pay a bit more, make less or lose your job and your rent will drop. It’s a SAFETY NET that ALL low income people need. is the BEST information covering ALL subsidized and reduced rent housing for the whole U.S. Unfortunately, the website now has a lot of advertising, so make sure you look closely at what you read there and ignore the ads that sometimes are mixed into the articles. You can set up alerts for any state &/or cities you are interested in and you will get emails every time a new waitlist opens up. Learn about Tax Credit (rent capped) apartments. Learn about subsidized housing that may be run by nonprofit organizations in your area. Get on any waitlists you qualify for. The waits may be long and the faster you get on the lists and the more of them you are on, the more likely something will come up before you get desperate. Good luck!


  22. I really need this apartment. Me and my 2 daughters have been homeless for 6 months now. I finally found something for 870 and that includes water, trash, pest control, and I think sewer. They said with the income documented the most they will pay for this area is 707. So my friend said she will give me 300 a month, so that took it up to 731. My question is with what I just said can you help me calculate how much more income I would need to get close to 870.


  23. Hello, I’m a Section 8 recipient. My SSI/SS is under $900. monthly. Last year I began training through a Non Profit Organization, I was told that the monies recieved isn’t considered as income. I train 20-25 hours/wk@ minimum wage #7.25.
    My issue is, if my Social Security and Food Stamps isn’t affected by this income “Why is housing clamming it and increased my rent. I called the worker over Sec 8 and left a message
    explaining the situation, I never recieved a reply to this day . For the past two months I’ve paid the increased rent. Again the training is through the “GOVERNMENT ” and is not to be considered as income. What reason does Housing have to claim it as income taking away monies that is very much needed and missed. I’m disabled , my entire being is consumed with chronic pain and whenever I go out, I have to take a taxi and pay to and from.
    Please enlighten me.


  24. My housing authority has calculated my 11 year olds ssi she receives from her down syndrome into my rent. Is that possible for them to include that into income to calculate my rent? My rent just went up almost $500. Yes I made more money than last year but I’m not making as much this year and I don’t believe they legally can use her ssi because she is a minor. Is this correct?


  25. My income has increased as well as I still receive child support for another 3 years. In addition to that my daughter is receiving pandemic benefits. Now my child support like I said it’s only for another three years and the pandemic benefits run out and about 1 month. I am up for recertification and I’m about to lose my voucher more than likely. How can I get around the fact that my daughter is pandemic benefits are only for a few more weeks? And what do I do when my son no longer receives child support in the next 3 years? I am getting older so where’s I’m making the income as of today I don’t know but the next few years is going to look like for me. What can I do?


  26. I understand how to figure these things out. The only thing I didn’t see here was that when my income changed to zero I was also sent s check for 86.00 every month to help pay my electricity. So when not working I saved my rent+ electricity payment= 586 total. The problem I keep having now is that I cannot figure out what amount I need to earn to really make it worth it to take a specific job or not. I am not lazy. My son had a seizure and broke his back. We have been stuck inside since January. So I get 586.00 for rent and electric. I also get 355 in food stamps. That is a ton! Every move i make takes away from those amounts. I am not saying i do not want to work. What i cannot find anywhere is how to figure out the amount I need to earn so I can have a goal to obtain career wise that makes sense. It just does not make any sense to me to go to work and be unable to care for my child and keep him safe when every penny I earn will go to rent and electric and food. I can stay at home with him and keep him safe and use the program to get us through. I know I may get bashed for this question but let’s be honest it makes no sense to be gone from my child more, work harder, and end up with less. I am racking my brain trying to figure out these numbers and I can’t. Currently I am granted 586/month which pays our entire rent and 86 on electric plus 355 food stamps which is plenty. Can anyone help me crunch these numbers so I know what yearly salary or hourly wage I need to shoot for for this to make sense? Thanks.


    1. It’s a valid question.

      If you work, every $3 you earn, you get $1 less in food stamps and $1 less in rent, and $1 you keep.

      The problem is, if you pay taxes it’s a wash. If your income is low enough that you don’t pay taxes or get earned income credit that changes things.

      Food stamps formula varies a bit by state, that’s a rough estimate.

      There’s also medicaid to consider. They don’t make it easy.

      Is your son a minor or an adult? Is he on disability?


      1. p.s. see if your housing authority runs a family self sufficiency program.

        If they have a program like that and you get into it BEFORE you start working, then it will be worth it to you financially.

        If you stay in that program, eventually you might go off HUD housing, but it will help you save and get in a better position.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for your kind response. So the thing here is that there are no jobs worth it in this place it is only 7000 people. I drive to work 40 minutes there and back. The leftover $1 I would get to keep from working seems like it would just go to gas, insurance, and maintenance on the car. Not to mention the 80 minutes for the commute which I would have to pay for childcare. I will ask about the program you said, thank you so much.


          1. I believe the child care would be deductible for rent. If child is disabled, a few other things would deductible as well.

            But yes, as a general rule, the family self sufficiency program is the best way to do it. Good luck. 🏵️ 🌼💛 

            Liked by 1 person

            1. They claim he is not. No epilepsy diagnosis so even with a broken back and seizures and immunosupressed etc etc etc, disability says no. I sent an email about the program you told about and I will check on child care expenses tomorrow. Thank you so very much this is more info than I have found in the last 3 months! Thanks!


      2. My son is 17. And he has been in and out of hospitals his whole life and currently has broken T4 T5 and T6 vertabrae in his back from a seizure, but denied disability. He is a junior in high school but apparently the government does not think he is a kid because he is 17. I won’t get to claim him. My income is “low” as I’m a server/ bartender and like I said we are in AMD out of the hospital 2 hours away periodically. This year I made 14,000. I claimed zero and my return is 1200.


          1. He turned 17 in October. Yeah I filed. The IRS said they are holding my taxes for “review” for up to 60 more days and told me it to call them, they would call me. 😂🤣


        1. Most or all states have a program for people who cannot work due to disability. Your son may qualify when he reaches 18 and can stay on until he is able to obtain (federal) SSI. You may be able to apply online or go to your local DSHS (Dept of Social & Health Services) office. (The name may be slightly different in your state.) This is the same office that can determine whether your family currently qualifies for Food Stamps, Medicaid health coverage, and perhaps other programs like a chore/caregiver for your son.

          Once you apply for Social Security Disability (SSI) for your son, you MUST keep appealing within the time allowed, to keep the case open and to keep moving up to the next decision level. Unless you have a very good reason for missing a deadline, you will have to start all over from scratch and lose your claim’s original Start Date. (This can result in the loss of thousands of dollars in “back benefits” if/when you win your case.)

          There are lawyers who specialize in getting people onto Disability (SSI/SSDI) and will often work “on contingency”, where they only get paid if you win. You may need to pay for any incidental costs (copies, mailing). They will take their payment from the “back benefits” (aka “lump sum”) and it can be 25%, capped at $6000 total.

          Alternatively, if you think you can handle it, you can represent your son yourself and save the money. (I did!) Make sure you give SSA the dates and contact info for EVERY healthcare facility & doctor/therapist that every treated or evaluated your son for his disabling conditions.

          SSA will order the medical records directly (no cost to you) and then YOU can ask for them for a copy of everything they have in their files (including THEIR medical reviewers’ reports and decisions). SSA may provide this to you on CD or paper. Review every page carefully. In my case, they got everything from every ER visit that had nothing to do with my disability, but the two records that would prove the condition that most caused my inability to work full-time…WERE MISSING! I read through a stack of papers two inches thick to discover that. During the process/waiting, you can get more evaluations, opinions, treatment for your son and add those records to the SSA file. Having more recent records, showing that he is STILL not able to work, will help your case

          If you have already filed a claim, been denied, and did not appeal in time, you will have to start again and re-apply to start a new claim. Be sure to use the same Date of Onset (of the disabling condition) as you used originally.

          HOT TIP: If/when you get to where you are appearing before a Disability Judge (after the second or third level turndown), make this argument if your son’s condition is the same, or at least not worse: “If you find in our favor–that my son is indeed qualified for Disability Benefits–then the FIRST claim should not have been turned down…he was just as disabled then as he is now…therefore, we ask for the FIRST claim to be re-instated.” (If asked, you can explain that you didn’t appeal that first time because you were distraught, didn’t understand the system, etc.)

          Someone in a free legal clinic had told me she thought there was a way to go back to the first claim. I had read the rules meticulously and I didn’t see how, but that planted the idea in my head that there might be a way…. She never got back to me, I was depressed and fatigued and procrastinated some more, but when I finally pulled myself together and pursued it on my own, I kept thinking about how to make an argument for that. In my case, the depression that is part of my disability was the CAUSE of my inability to meet the appeals deadlines the first time around. I made that point and pointed out that “my condition had not improved, therefore, if I’m officially designated “disabled” NOW, I was disabled THEN”.

          This was apparently a rather novel approach, but the bemused judge agreed to consider it if he ruled in my favor for the Disability Benefits. When I got my “lump-sum”, it went back to the ORIGINAL claim and therefore the Date of Onset, which was even further back! (An extra two years worth of benefits in my case!) Since the waiting period had long since passed, this enabled me to immediately go onto Medicare. Because it eliminated a few extra years of unemployment, I got SSDI instead of possibly losing that and ending up on SSI (a difference in my case of about $150/mo at the time; now with SSDI COLA’s, and SSI barely changing, it’s about $330/mo. higher) . For the same reason, it probably resulted in a slightly higher SSDI monthly benefit as well. (Fewer “zero earnings” years dragging down my average.)

          Good luck! Stick with it. Get legal and “welfare office” help if you need it. I learned a great deal many years back, when I was still a “newbie” to all this, from this website:


    2. My total income beginning this year was $569.00, I’m on SSDI and my total rent is around $1,876.. I’m on section 8 and recently had my recertification, my income decreased at the beginning of the year and the portion that I pay was decreased but it’s still really high at $413.00 for someone who’s monthly income is only $569 a month for right now which doesn’t leave me with anything to pay my bills and for food and I had to start paying that on the 1st of May according to the Housing Authority, but I received a letter earlier this year from the leasing office where I staying saying that my portion of the rent was going up but only by 5% to 235 a month which is way more reasonable but of course o have to go by what the Housing Authority says, they gave me their reasoning on why they set it to the amount that they set it to but it really seems more than 30% of my income… does that sound right because it doesn’t too me??


      1. If I’m getting unemployment and on section 8 and was told that this $600 is to be given on the wks in between the ones that unemployment pays me for….not just a 1 time thing by my caseworker….I also received in the mail, as well as her telling me that my rent for section 8 will be going up because of this…which is close to the regular rent of the apartment without being on section 8 period!! Now how is that!!?? When its the government giving me the $600 every other wk and knocking my income out of range like I dont have other bills to pay, only rent to them?? I have utilities, car insurance, etc still!!


  27. I’m receiving workman comp. Of 599.00/weekly I have a 2 bedroom. Rent is 1295.00 a month. How much is my rent suppose to be? All utilities are paid by me. I need help please. Because when I was working making more money my rent was only 20 more? That makes no sense.


    1. You can request a copy of your family report worksheet to see the calculations they made and see if it looks right to you.

      Rent can also go up if you’ve moved or if landlord has raised the rent or if someone has moved into or out of your home.


  28. I received a housing voucher late 2016, I found a 1 bdrm apt and submitted my SS disability as income. the manager knew I was paid on 5th. For 3 yrs Ive paid this way. Jan 2020 managment no longer has any grace period,rent is due the 1st with a 125.00 late fee by 2nd no exceptions. I was charged the late fee plus extra 25.00 process fee. I cant pay rent on the 1st what can I do? I will be charged this late and proces fees every month with less than 200 to pay other bills and live on.


    1. Hi anita,

      The section on paying rent late has some sample letters for making a request to pay rent late… hope this helps….


    2. Try to find someone who can cover your rent on the 1st. If they pay by check, it will likely be a day or two before the money comes from their account. Then it will only be another day or two before you will be able to pay them back on the 5th (cash or money order).

      Start putting as much money aside as possible, so that you will be able to pay SOME of your rent on the first, leaving less and less for someone else to have to “advance” you to make up the difference.

      Another thought, if you have or can get a credit card, and use it responsibly, use it for as many bills and expenses as you can (utility bills, internet, food, household & pet supplies, bus/car costs, etc.). Each time you charge something, move that amount (online) from your checking account into a savings account or a checking account set up just for rent. You may find that by the end of the month, you have enough to pay next month’s rent on time! If the credit card balance is not due until after the 5th, you’ll be able to pay it IN FULL at that time. Use the card for all NEW charges that month, and keep going. (But do try to save up enough to get ahead of the rent without doing this trick.)

      If you are going to get a credit card, look for one with a BONUS–Chase Freedom cards, for instance, often have a $200 bonus if you can meet the bonus requirements AND they pay 1 or 1.5% cashback on everything you charge. If you are going to get a new checking or savings account, look for one with a BONUS as well. Google “bank bonus 2020” and start learning how to do this. (I have made about $300/yr average this way for about 9 yrs now.) Don’t EVER pay checking account charges–there are plenty of FREE checking accounts out there. Turn OFF the overdraft so you won’t accidentally incur bank fees for an impulse purchase when you’re out of money.


  29. Your website is absolutely steller. Thank you for creating it!

    I am not seeing in the HUD rules anything specific re: ABLE account’s being exempt as a resource. In my recent Section 8 review, the technician told me it would be counted as a resource like any other savings account.

    So, my rent increased. My EBT decreased (and is now possibly denied), and it is seemingly costing me money to try to save money.

    Please, if you have any clear, official information that addresses this dynamic, “spelling it out” for me AND local social services organizations/technicians (EBT, Medicaid, and the County Housing Authority [Section 8]), I’d truly appreciate it!

    Thanks very much!

    Liked by 1 person

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