Section 8 Homeownership: Special Rules for People With Disabilities

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Art: Robin Mead

If you are participating in (or trying to join) a Section 8 Homeownership program. You may notice they have a lot of requirements!

If you or someone in your household is disabled, here’s some special policies that may make things easier for you.

Tip: Your housing authority may not know these policies. You can show them.

First Time Home Owner

Some homeownership programs require that you have not owned a home before.

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook:

The definition explicitly extends first-time homeowner status to the following individuals or families, provided that they have no current homeownership interest in a residence:

A family that includes a person with a disability, in which any member has owned a unit during the preceding three years, but for which the PHA determines that the use of the homeownership option is necessary as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to the family.

Employment Requirements

Some homeownership programs require you be employed.

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook:

This employment requirement does not apply to an elderly or disabled family (head, spouse or sole member is elderly or disabled).

Also, the employment requirement does not apply to a family that includes a person with disabilities, if other family members are unable to work on a full-time basis because they are required to care for the person with disabilities, and the PHA determines a reasonable accommodation is necessary

Minimum Income Requirements

Some homeownership programs require that your family has a certain amount of income.

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook:

As stated in 24 CFR § 982.627(c), at the time the family begins receiving homeownership assistance, the adult family members of a non-disabled family who will own the home must meet collectively a minimum non-welfare annual income requirement that is not less than the Federal minimum hourly wage ($6.55 at the drafting of this guidebook) multiplied by 2,000 hours ($13,100). For a disabled family (a family whose head, spouse or sole member is a person with disabilities), the adult family members who will own the home must have an annual income that is not less than the monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (ssi) benefit for an individual living alone multiplied by 12 (in 2005, that monthly SSI benefit is $579, resulting in a minimum income requirement of $6948).

Costs for Making Your Home More Accessible

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook:

If the family includes a member with disabilities, principal and interest on the debt incurred to financ e the costs of making the home accessible for the family member may be included in the family’s eligible homeownership expenses. The PHA must determine whether the inclusion of the expense is needed as a reasonable accommodation.

Exceptions to ANY Rule

If your disability makes it difficult to participate in the homeownership program, you can request an exception to any rule or policy that the program has.

There are no limits on what you can or can’t request. Examples might be:

  • You are unable to attend classes in person and must participate from home
  • You need deadline extensions or extra help for certain types of paperwork
  • You are requesting a higher voucher to be able to pay for a home that meets special disability needs (such as wheelchair accessible)
  • You do not meet one of the criteria to be accepted into the program because of your disability, but you can explain how you will still be able to successfully use the program to buy a home
  • You require a larger budget for repairs and maintenance because the work must be done using special materials that do not worsen your disability symptoms
  • Anything else that needs to be changed in order to allow you to participate in the program as a person with disabilities.

In most cases, the housing program will have to approve your request, as long as your request is properly documented. There are a few situations where they can say no: For example, they can deny if you are asking for something that would be very expensive, cause a great deal of extra work, or breaks a federal law or regulation.

Learn how to make a request: How to Request Accommodations

Mortgages

The Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook has a long section on ways a housing authority can help support disabled people to qualify for mortgages and funding. You may wish to read this and try approaching your housing authority to see if there are any ways they might be willing to work with you.

If Your Housing Program Doesn’t Offer Homeownership

If your housing authority does not have a homeownership program, you can request a disability accommodation to allow homeownership just for you due to your special disability needs for housing. If Your Housing Authority Doesn’t Offer Homeownership

Term Limits

Assistance usually stops in 10-15 years.

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook:

The term limits do not apply to elderly or disabled families (head, spouse or sole member is elderly or disabled) at the time of purchase. As indicated in 24 CFR § 982.637(c)(2), in the case of an elderly family, the exception on term limits only applies if the family qualifies as an elderly family at the start of homeownership assistance. In the case of a disabled family, the exception on term limits apply if at any time during receipt of homeownership assistance, the family qualifies as a disabled family. Pursuant to 24 CFR § 982.637(c) (3), if during the course of homeownership, the family ceases to qualify as a disabled or elderly family, the maximum term of assistance becomes applicable from the date the homeownership assistance commenced. However, such a family must be provided at least 6 months of homeownership assistance after the maximum term becomes applicable (provided the family is otherwise eligible to receive homeownership assistance).

As noted above, term limits on assistance do not apply to elderly and disabled families (head, spouse, or sole member is elderly or disabled). This exception applies to: • Elderly families who qualify as elderly families when homeownership assistance begins; and • Disabled families who qualify at any time during receipt of homeownership assistance.

If a family ceases to qualify as an elderly or disabled family, the maximum term is effective from the date that homeownership assistance began. However, the PHA must give the family at least 6 months’ notice regarding their change in status before terminating their homeowner ship assistance (provided they are otherwise eligible). If a family receiving homeownership assistance sells one unit and purchases another unit, the term limit applies to the total term during which the family receives assistance. The applicable limit is based on the term of the mortgage used to purchase the first unit.

Learn More

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

Learn More: How to Buy a House Through Section 8

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

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2 thoughts on “Section 8 Homeownership: Special Rules for People With Disabilities”

  1. I receive section 8, and I am disabled and interested in the homeownership program.
    My father is 95 and will by dying relatively soon, At that time I will inherit half of his house in which my stepmother will have life tenancy. The house is in a cheap-housing area, so I guess my half will end up being about 60k before expenses are paid. But I do not have any access to the money or the home until my stepmother dies or leaves the home. Would this ownership stake affect my eligiblilty for the program? Do I even have to disclose it, since I have no legal access to the property resource?

    Like

    1. They will probably count it as a resource, which means it may raise your rent a small amount. However, the amount would be pretty small and shouldn’t keep you from being able to use the housing program.

      There is also a rule that you can’t use housing if you already own a house that is available to you to live in. There’s a chance they may ask you for proof that this house is not available for you to live in. They may not ask, but they might. Again, you should still be able to use the housing program as long as you can show them some kind of proof that you can’t live in this house.

      it is always best to disclose everything, even if it does not affect your housing it is on the safe side to make sure to disclose it anyway.

      Like

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