Who Can Be My Live In Aide (Section 8 & Low Income Housing)

Art: Robin Mead

According to HUD policies, you can select who you would like to be your aide. Obviously, it must be someone who agrees and wants to be your aide!

An aide can be paid or unpaid. An aide can be someone you know, someone who cares for you now, someone you hire, or a professional aide from an agency. In some cases, an aide can be a relative.

Even though you can chose your own aide, there are some restrictions. Not everyone will get approved as an aide. There are two sets of rules to follow: Federal rules, and local rules created by your housing program.

Federal Rules

These are the federal rules that apply everywhere. Your aide must be someone who:

“Is not obligated to support you”

About this rule:

  • HUD does not clarify what this rule means

  • We would interpret this to mean: Cannot be your spouse. Cannot be your legal guardian. If disabled person is under age 18, cannot be a parent or someone with legal responsibility for the child.

“Would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services”

About this rule:

  • You and your aide may be asked to sign forms to verify this

  • HUD does not have specific policies explaining what this means

  • If person is already living with you, see section below for this situation.

  • Some local housing programs have created their own additional requirements in this area, particularly if the aide is a relative. See below.

“Passes a criminal background check.”

HUD policies state that an aide will be turned down for these reasons:

  • Committed fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program

  • Committed drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity

  • Currently owes rent or other amounts to the housing program or to another housing program in connection with Section 8 or public housing assistance

Most housing programs have their own additional rules on this topic. For example, felonies may or may not count depending on type of felony and how many years have passed. Misdemeanors may not count at all. You can check with your housing program to ask for a copy of their policy on criminal background.

“Is going to live with you”

About this rule:

Occasional, intermittent, multiple or rotating caregivers who do not typically reside in the unit do not qualify as live-in aides. If a person does not live with you full time, they cannot get live in aide status. However, they may be able to stay with you as a guest:

  • If you need permission for rotating or occasional aides, you can request an accommodation for an exception to policy on overnight guests.

  • Live in aides are given their own bedroom. Guests are not given a bedroom. In some situations, you can also request an accommodation for an additional room for a guest who is a caregiver, if this is necessary for your care needs. You may need to demonstrate why your guest cannot sleep in the living room: Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room 

Home Aide Programs

You do not need to be in a home aide program to qualify to have a live in aide for HUD housing. There are no rules about whether or not your aide should be paid. Obviously, if you are in a program that offers salary to an aide, this will make it a lot easier to find an aide!

Additional Local Rules

Most housing programs only use the rules, listed above. However, some housing programs have created their own additional rules for live in aides.  Often these rules only apply if your aide is a relative (particularly if your aide is your adult child).

Examples of Local Rules

  • Proof that aide was not previously living with you before they became your aide. Or, if they were living with you, they were there in order to care for you.
  • Proof that aide and you have no shared bank accounts or finances
  • Proof that aide has other housing options and is leaving their current housing in good standing (is not homeless or being evicted)

It is unclear whether all of these rules are in alignment with HUD policies and fair housing laws. If your aide is denied due to local policies, you may consider requesting a reasonable accommodation for an exception to the policy and/or filing a fair housing complaint for discrimination.

Learn more about: How to Request an Exception to HUD Live in Aide Policies

Elderly Buildings

Certain types of buildings for the elderly have special rules for adult children. If you live in one of these types of HUD buildings, and you are disabled, and your live in aide is your child, there is a possibility that your aide’s income will not be excluded.


Can Someone I Already Live With Be My Aide? 

💕 If you have not yet applied for housing:  Important Notes If You Have a Caregiver and are Applying for Housing

💕 If you have already applied: It may depend how they were listed on your application (head of household, co-head, family member, household member, aide). If they were not listed as an aide, in some cases, you may be able to remove them, and later request to add an aide to your housing.

💕 If you are already live in HUD housing: Unknown. HUD is very clear that a person cannot simultaneously be part of an “assisted family” and be a live in aide. But what about switching status? Or being removed from paperwork and then rejoining household as an aide? HUD does not have any specific rules (that we can find) stating that this is or is not allowed. This type of request may be very difficult to get approved. You may need to present very strong proof that the person has no other reason for living with you outside of being your aide. If anyone knows of other policies or cases that address this, please comment below.

💕 What about someone who stops living with you and then later rejoins as an aide? HUD does not have any specific rules addressing this situation. Different Housing Authorities may handle it different ways. There are no specific rules that would forbid your aide from being someone who previously lived with you as a family or household member. If you feel a decision has not been made fairly, you always have the right to appeal or file a Fair Housing Complaint.

What if the Head of Household Wants to Become Live in Aide?

One person in your household will be listed as “head of household” on your housing paperwork. Sometimes two people may be listed as “co-head.” Sometimes a housing program will allow a family to add a second co-head of household, if there is not one already.

💕 If someone is listed on housing forms as the head of household, they cannot have live-in aide status.

💕 If someone is co-head of household, and leaves or moves out, there are no rules addressing whether that person could later be joined as an aide, and it may depend on the housing program and circumstances.

Can My Aide Be a Relative?

Yes. However, if the relative is currently or recently living with you, this may cause the Housing Authority to question whether this person meets the criteria of “Would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services.”

Some housing workers tell people that a relative cannot be an aide, but this is not true. HUD policies clearly state that “A relative may be considered to be a live-in aide if they meet the requirements.”

Bottom line: A relative can only be an aide if that is the ONLY reason they are living there.

Other Options for Developmental Disabilities

Applying for a live in aide is simplest. However, some people do not qualify to be aides. If this is true for your family, there is another type of request you can make for homecare income to be excluded.

For people with developmental disabilities (autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, spina bifida, intellectual disability, etc): How to Exclude Income from IHSS and Medicaid Homecare

Thanks for Reading

🌸 This page is part of the free online guide: How to Request a Live-in Aide

🌸 Learn More: The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

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

🌸 Facebook group for people with disabilities and family members: Disability Support & Self Advocacy in HUD & Section 8 Housing

🌸 Page Updated: 1/10/20

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Please share this page with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

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