Is it Worth My Time and Energy to Declare Medical Expenses?

Art: Robin Mead

If you live in some forms of subsidized housing, you may be able to declare medical and health expenses to lower your rent payment. Is it worth doing this? Sometimes.

Medical expenses take time, energy and paperwork. In some cases, they wind up making very little or no difference in your rent. Other times it can be a good help.

When It May Be Worth It

HUD has a special formula for calculating medical expenses. This means not all medical expenses will make a difference. Examples of times when it may be worth it:

🌸 Your health expenses are very high and/or your income is very low.

🌸 You have out-of-state medical travel that involves hotels, airplanes, and other high expenses.

🌸 You have an assistant animal that has a lot of expenses for food, care, and vet bills.

🌸 You have high deductibles, co-pays, medication payments, or insurance premiums.

🌸 You have children with out-of-pocket medical expenses (even if the children are not disabled, as long as you are disabled their expenses will count too).

🌸 Someone else in your house also has medical expenses – for example, your spouse or someone else to live with. Once again, even if the other person is not disabled, as long as the head of household is disabled, everyone’s expenses will count.

🌸 Finally, if you are on SNAP food stamps, you may find it worth putting together the documents for medical expense deductions. You may be able to use all the same documents for Food Stamps deductions.

HUD’s Formula

🌸 They only deduct expenses that exceed 3% of household income.

🌸 So if your income is $10,000 per year, you have to spend at least $300 per year before any medical expenses start to count.

🌸 After the deduction is made, Section 8 will set your rate at 30% of income. It’s easier if you see an example:

Jade’s Deduction

  • Jade’s income is $15,000
  • Her medical expenses are $1,000. Her daughter’s expenses are $1,000.
  • Total medical expenses = $2,000
  • Deduction: $15,000 x 3% = $450
  • Countable medical expenses: $2,000 – $450 = $1,550
  • Times 30% = $465

Outcome: Jade’s rent goes down $465 per year ($38 per month)

Tools for Troublemakers

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

The whole shebang: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

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3 thoughts on “Is it Worth My Time and Energy to Declare Medical Expenses?”

  1. I also forgot to mention that the X 30% is at the end and is not part of the formula for calculating the medical deductions. I didn’t see that anywhere in the HUD handbook I did see the 3% rule of course but I think there was a mistake in the example shown unless I am wrong or missing something. It just doesn’t make sense that they would take 30% on top of the 3% medical deductions.


  2. I don’t understand after they deduct the 3% why would they
    only count 30% of the medical deductions? I thought after 3% of your income they would include all medical deductions from your yearly income not just only 30% of your medical deductions? That doesn’t seem right I only know that they count 30% of your income for the rent calculated but not the medical deductions. Could you please clarify. I thought they are supposed to count all of your medical deductions after 3%, not 3% plus another 30% on top of that?

    Liked by 1 person

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