How to I Got Four Bedrooms

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A guide to requesting

disability accommodations

for separate bedrooms

in HUD, Section 8,

and Low Income Housing

Writing by Delphinium
Art by Robin Mead

Delphinium is disabled and has three children with disabilities. She was able to make disability accommodation requests to get separate bedrooms for each person. This raised her Housing Voucher so her family is able to rent a four-bedroom house. Delphinium was kind enough to share these tips and ideas to help other families in similar situations.


Delphinium’s Story

When my Housing Authority tried to downsize my family to a two-bedroom apartment, I submitted four reasonable accommodation requests with four doctor’s letters detailing why each child needed a separate bedroom.

In talking with other families, I have found that common diagnosis for a requesting a separate bedroom are: anxiety, ADHD, autism, mobility issues, PTSD, history of sexual abuse, attachment disorder, sleep disorders, and almost any psych diagnosis. If you have a good doctor, it is possible for asthma.

An argument could be made for almost any diagnosis depending on the symptoms and the degree that impacts the person. Here’s some examples I have seen from other families:

Example of Reasons for Request for Emotional, Mental or Behavioral Issues

Requests like this are sometimes made for children or family members with Autism, ADD, ADHD, Bipolar, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Alzheimer’s, or Downs Syndrome. Specific reasons some families have noted:

🌷 Accommodation is needing for space to practice calming skills or coping mechanisms recommended by child’s doctor or therapist.

🌷 Child is not adapting well to change, and without separate, private space can become hyperactive, easily agitated, and impulsive.

🌷 Treatment and behavioral plan includes child having private space to withdraw to. Doctor states that this will allow child to better self-manage their symptoms.

🌷  Child has sensory issues, many of which are made worse when he feels his space is invaded or doesn’t have an areas of his own to go to practice therapeutic coping mechanisms.

Example of Reasons for Request for Asthma

A doctor’s letter should state that the only way to accommodate disability needs would be a separate bedroom. Speak with your doctor about the specific needs of your family. Reasons some families have faced:

🌷 Child has severe asthma and can’t be in a bedroom with carpet, blinds, and stuffed animals, and needs special bedding and pillows.

🌷 Shared bedroom would put child at a greater risk at being exposed to triggers.

🌷 Shared bedroom would be an unnecessary financial burden on the family requiring double the medically-necessary bedding due to sharing a room.

🌷 As cleaning and washing of fabrics would be needed more often this would again cause an additional financial hardship by doubling the cost and it would double the work and the frequency.

Example of Reasons for Physical Disabilities

🌷  Child uses wheelchair, oxygen tank, or other medical equipment. Needs suitable space in room to safely operate equipment.

🌷  Child is unable to navigate small spaces using medical equipment. Needs suitable floor space for navigation and mobility.

🌷 Child is prescribed physical therapy exercises and at-home sessions with physical therapist. Needs suitable space for the safe storage and operation of physical therapy equipment. Needs private space separate from other family members for at-home physical therapy sessions. Inadequate space in rest of house to safely store equipment, inadequate floor space to safely use prescribed equipment.

🌷 Child requires special care during overnight hours. Requires medication, treatment, personal care attendant, or other activities during nighttime hours that would make the room not a suitable sleeping space for anyone else.

🌷 Child has sleeping disorder. Doctor has stated that shared bedroom worsens disability symptoms. Doctor finds that a separate bedroom is medically necessary as part of treatment plan for sleeping disorder.

Other Reasons for Bedrooms

🌷 Some families do not request separate bedrooms for sleeping, but instead request additional bedrooms for other purposes.

🌷 Other common reasons for additional bedrooms are: live-in aides or storing and using medical equipment. Some people have been granted bedrooms for physical therapy or offgassing items for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. More Reasons for an Additional Bedroom.

Making the Request

Here’s where you can find sample letters and more information on how to submit your request for a separate bedroom: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

Sleeping in Living Room

Some Housing Authorities have a policy that when an additional bedroom is needed, they will expect a non-disabled person to sleep in the living room. Learn more here: Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room

Will My Voucher Go Up?

Yes if you have a housing voucher, the amount of the voucher will go up. For example, it might go from $1,000 to $1,200. How Much Will My Voucher Go Up?

Will My Share of the Rent Go Up?

For vouchers and HUD apartments, the amount you pay each month will stay the same or go down. If you do not have a voucher and live in a different type of income restricted property, your rent might increase. Will My Share of the Rent Go Up?

Update

Some families are reporting difficulties after submitting requests based on child’s behavioral issues. Be careful about any statements by you or child’s doctor that uses phrases like “unsafe” “violent” or “aggressive” or expresses need for “door with a lock,” as these words can trigger mandatory reporting in some cases.


Learn More

Updated July 2019. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

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20 thoughts on “How to I Got Four Bedrooms”

  1. I am in HUD Housing I am 25 yo female with a 4yr old son and 6month daughter how can I request for a three bedroom we absolutely have no space is it true it has to be a medical reason or is Different genders good enough ?

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    1. It depends on the Housing Authority. If your housing authority places them together, then you can move to a different Housing Authority with a different policy. If you stay where you are, then it’s only possible to get an exception if someone is disabled and needs it for medical reasons.

      Like

  2. Hi im in Fresno, California. I finally got sec8. Im a disable 51 yo male with one adult son 23. Sec8 has only approved us for a 1 bedroom. Can i request a 2 bedroom?

    Thanks James

    Like

  3. IN MY EXPERIENCE TO CALCULATE RENT FOR SOMEONE ON SECTION-8 YOU ALSO MUST CALCULATE FOR A DISABILITY. THIS MEANS YOU TAKE YOUR ANNUAL INCOME THEN DEDUCT $400, THEN ITS 30% OF THAT TOTAL.
    IF YOU HAVE A DISABILITY WITH AN ANNUAL INCOME OF $10,000. THE FORMULA WILL BE:
    10,000.- 400 = 9,600 ÷ 12 = 800 × .30 = 240 TOTAL RENT PER MONTH

    Like

  4. housing voucher – I have 4 kids n two bed room appointment my son has CP what is the name of what I ask his doc for ? I already turned in all my docs couple weeks ago HELP :/

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  5. I got approved for a reasonable accommodation for a extra bedroom. I’m currently living in a 2 bedroom apartments but now I’m approved for a 3 bedroom. I just received a new rta pack do I have to fill out a new application and income verification if I move to a 3 bedroom at the same apartment complex when I just move here 7 months ago?? I looked online and I didn’t see anything about the process.

    Like

    1. How do you get approved? I’m in a 2 bedroom as well with a child with a learning disability. That has been approved for to get help with his disorder he is 1 years old I have 2 bigger kids.

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  6. Hello. I am a family of three, all female and have been approve for a two bedroom apartment under the HCV program. My seven year old has ASD and ADHD. She receives home-base ABA therapy and respite services. I would like to know if my family would qualify for a reasonable accommodation for a separate bedroom for my seven year old?

    Like

    1. If you submit the correct documentation it is possible to get approved for this. It will depend on what you and your doctor write. howtogeton.wordpress.com/sample-disability-accommodation-letters-housing/

      Like

  7. I currently porting my section 8 housing voucher and I have my briefing coming up next week. I had to port due to domestic Violence and I was wondering if at my briefing with my new case worker will I be able to ask for a separate bedroom on my voucher due to the severe PTSD causing me and my 19 month old having trouble sleeping at night due to night terrors when triggered ? My daughter wakes up throughout out the night and it’s causing us both to not get the rest we need and then more issues occur from not getting sleep. Please let me know what I need to do

    Like

    1. Hi Jaiden,

      You can definitely request an extra bedroom for this reason, but the request needs to be made in writing – one letter from you, plus one from a doctor or therapist. Ask the worker for a reasonable accommodation form. You can follow the instructions above for more information and sample letters. Hope it goes great.

      Like

  8. Once the doctors note is given and you are approved for the extra bedroom, how long is it good for? For example a permanent disability is the form good the entire time on section 8? Or does it have to be done every year?

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  9. Hi it’s my time to recertify and my section 8 HUD office is telling me I need to have only my child with disabilities Dr. fill out the accommodations form for another bedroom. But I have a 20 year old with bipolar, ADHD, Depression, ECT that is not on disability. She is refusing to take a form from his Dr,. Please tell me where I can find the information stating the person does not have to be on ssi or ssd but has the letter from there Dr to get the accommodations met.

    Like

    1. Are you using a form from the housing authority?

      The form usually has on it HUD’s definition of disability. Is your 20 year old currently living with you and on your voucher?

      Submit the form in writing and ask for a receipt that it was received. Or send it by certified mail. Let her know that you need a WRITTEN decision and let her know you are planning to file a fair housing complaint.

      HUD definition of disability is on this page: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/disabilities/sect504faq

      places to file complaints:
      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/get-help-or-file-complaints-for-hud-housing-problems-disability/

      hope it goes well.

      Like

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