How to Apply for Housing if You Have a Caregiver

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Art: Robin Mead

If you live with a caregiver, it’s very important to decide from the beginning whether that person is applying with you as a “household member/family member” or as a “live in aide.”

These are two different HUD categories that are treated in completely different ways. Learn more here: How to Get a Live-In Aide in HUD Housing

Get it Right from The Start

Whatever choice you make now you may not be able to ever change later. To keep things simple and avoid problems it’s important your initial application to be accurate.

Most forms have a space to list all household members with a box for “relationship to head of household.” If you are adding an aide, write “live in aide.”The form may look something like this:

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Example: Daisy and Rose Apply Five Ways

Daisy is applying to live with her sister Rose. Her sister is her caregiver.

Example One: Family Member

If Rose is applying as a family member, they would fill out the application like thus:

  1. Daisy Flowers – Self – 2/2/1970 – Female
  2. Rose Flowers – Sister – 1/1/1975 – Female

Example Two: Aide

If Rose is living with Daisy to be her live in aide and is applying as an aide, they would fill out the application like thus:

  1. Daisy Flowers – Self – 2/2/1970 – Female
  2. Rose Flowers – Live in Aide – 1/1/1975 – Female

Example Three: Wait and See for Vouchers

Daisy can also apply on her own, and then before or after moving in, she could add Rose or someone else to be her aide:

  1. Daisy Flowers – Self – 2/2/1970 – Female

Example Four: Wait and See for Buildings

Daisy can also apply on her own, and then before or after moving in, she could add Rose or someone else to be her aide. However, if she is applying for a building, she might want to include something about her live in aide now so that she is put on the wait list for a two bedroom not one bedroom apartment:

  1. Daisy Flowers – Self – 2/2/1970 – Female
  2. Live In Aide – Aide not yet identified. To be determined.

Example Five: Two Applications

Daisy and Rose can also apply for two vouchers, or two different apartments in the same building. Then they can live next door to each other and Rose can still help Daisy.

Application One: Daisy Flowers – Self – 2/2/1970 – Female

Application two: Rose Flowers – Self – 1/1/1975 – Female


Tips From Readers

💕 According to HUD policies, live in aide’s income income is always excluded. Many forms will ask for income of all household members. If you are adding an aide, instead of listing their income, some of our readers report that they found it easiest to write “live-in aide – income excluded” next to all financial questions. Some of our readers have had problems because they wrote down their aide’s income, and then mistakes were made in their rental calculations which caused headaches later.

💕Alternately, some readers simply made a photocopy of the entire application and gave it to their aide to fill out separately. The aide filled out their own information only, and wrote “live in aide application for xzy person on the top”. All financial information was left blank and instead was written “live in aide, income excluded per HUD policies.”

💕 According to HUD policies, live in aide’s assets are always excluded. Many forms will ask for bank accounts of all household members. If you are adding an aide, instead of listing their income, you can write “live-in aide financial information excluded” next to all financial questions. Some of our readers have had problems because they wrote down their aides assets, and then all their rental calculations were incorrect.

💕 Even if your aide is related to you, they must be listed on your application as “live in aide” not as family member. This may be difficult or impossible to change later.


If You Do Not Know Who Your Aide Will Be

Some waiting lists are long. If you are applying for housing five years from now, you may not know who your aide will be!

💕  Vouchers: No need to mention your aide at the beginning. When you get to the top of the wait list, you can always add them then.

💕 Apartment: You will need to add your aide at the beginning, so that you get on the correct wait list for the correct number of bedrooms.

A few strategies if you need to add an aide and you don’t know who your aide will be:

💕 Add a temporary aide. If there is someone you think could possibly be your aide, you can write their name. When you get to the top of the waiting list, you can always change your aide to a different person.

💕 Don’t give a name. On list of household members, you can just write “live in aide – to be determined” and leave the rest of the line blank. Some properties will accept this, some may not.


When to Make the Request

New applications for vouchers: If you are applying for a Housing Voucher, you can include your aide, or leave them off and add them later. Important: Aide must be clearly listed as “live in aide” not as a tenant, household member, or family member.

New applications for apartments: You may need to add your aide now at the beginning, so that you get on the wait list for the correct number of bedrooms. If you don’t know who your aide will be, some places will accept an application if you just write “live in aide to be determined.” Tip: Sometimes you can apply for more than one wait list for more than one bedroom size, then see which opens first. Also: Confirm that they are putting you on the wait list for the correct number of bedrooms. Important: Aide must be clearly listed as “live in aide” not as a tenant, household member, or family member.

Already approved: You can add an aide to your housing at any time. If you have a lease with a private landlord, you may need landlords permission to add an occupant. If needed, you can make this request as an accommodation request.

If you are applying to a building, it may be best to make the request when you first apply so that you are sure you are put on the waiting list for the correct number of bedrooms.

Important: Make sure your aide is listed on all paperwork as “live in aide.” Never list your aide as a household member, family member, or tenant.


More Tips

🌸 If you don’t know who your aide will be, you can write “live in aide, to be determined” or attach a note stating that you will be making an accommodation request for a live in aide to live with you.

🌸 If you are applying for a building that has both one and two bedroom apartments, you may be able to request to be on the waiting list for both types of apartments. In some cases, waiting lists for one bedroom may be shorter, and you may be able to continue on the wait list for a larger apartment to accommodate an aide.

🌸 Live in aides are not considered tenants by HUD. They do not sign your lease and do not pay rent. They should not be listed as a co-applicant or tenant.

🌸 According to HUD policies, HUD will not count any income from your aide. To avoid confusion, many people choose not to write down the aide’s income on applications, and instead include a note at the bottom of each page stating “live in aide income and finances not included on this form.”

🌸 If you are at the top of the waiting list for a buildings, some of our readers have found it simplest to make a copy of the application and have your aide fill out their own separate application, and marking the application “live in aide application for such-and-such person.”

🌸 At some point after you apply, you and your aide and your doctor will be asked to fill out forms to request an accommodation to have an aide.

🌸  Although income is excluded, your aide will still have to pass a criminal background check. They may also run a credit check to check for evictions, but should not consider other types of credit issues.

🌸 Special Exception: For HUD housing, vouchers, Section 8, or public housing, live-in aide income is always excluded. For other types of properties or “income restricted” properties, you can ask their policy. Some properties have minimum income requirements so excluding an aide’s income may mean your application is denied because total household income is too low.

🌸 Your housing program will have live in aide forms for you and your doctor to fill out. Typically, you are not asked to do this until you get to the top of the wait list, but in case they ask you now: How to Fill Out Live in Aide Forms

Learn More

How to Get a Live-In Aide in HUD Housing

🌸 This page is part of the online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

🌸 Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members

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

Updated February 2020. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

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