Social Security Disability Housing Assistance
Many housing assistance programs exist to help people who receive Social Security Disability benefits. Among them are the Housing Choice Voucher program, the National Housing Trust and programs from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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- Published: March 6, 2023
- Updated: March 8, 2023
- 12 min read time
- This page features 12 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
- Social Security Disability benefits don’t include money for housing, but you can access many other social programs for financial help.
- The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program allows you to receive rent subsidies while living in any housing that meets your needs.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program can help you get off the streets and into more permanent housing.
- Additional low-rent housing may be available through the HUD and the National Housing Trust Fund.
Does Social Security Offer Housing Assistance?
Social Security does not offer direct housing assistance to people receiving old age, survivor or disability benefits. However, many social programs offer housing support to low-income individuals, people with disabilities and seniors. Many people who receive Social Security benefits fall into at least one of the following categories and can access these programs for housing assistance.
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the largest public housing initiative in America. Its goal is to provide affordable housing for Americans living below the poverty line.
You can exchange an HCV for part of the rent at a local apartment, townhouse or single-family home. While many rely on Social Security to provide the bulk of their monthly income, recipients must still pay 30% of their monthly income toward rent. The vouchers make up the difference between what the family can pay and what the market rent is for the area.
HCV recipients can choose any local housing that meets their needs if it’s available for a reasonable rate and meets the Public Housing Authority’s housing quality standards. However, the voucher is only valid for a predetermined maximum payment standard.
So, if a family lives somewhere that costs more than 30% of its income plus the maximum payment standard, they must pay the difference. The HCV program doesn’t maintain a list of qualifying properties.
Many HCVs exist to meet varying needs and family sizes and compositions. You will find more detail on the main types in the sections below.
The government provides tenant-based housing vouchers to low-income families who have little access to safe, affordable housing. To qualify, a family must have a household income of less than 50% of the Area Median Income. In some cases, families with an income of less than 80% of the Area Median Income may also qualify.
Tenant-based vouchers go to a family, not a property owner. This allows families to take their vouchers with them if they move, so they can apply their vouchers toward rent at their new home.
Mainstream housing vouchers go to households that have one or more adults with a disability and is younger than 62 years old. The qualifying household member must be homeless, institutionalized or at risk of either situation.
- Receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to their disability
- Is unable to work for at least 12 months due to their disability
- Has a physical, mental or emotional condition that is expected to last long term and affect their ability to live independently
Mainstream housing vouchers work the same as tenant-based vouchers — they’re tied to the tenant and moves with them.
Families headed by one or more people with a disability under age 62 qualify for non-elderly disabled vouchers. Those with disabled children are not eligible for these vouchers if the head of the household has no documented disabilities.
Aside from their limited scope, these vouchers are identical to mainstream vouchers: they’re tenant-based and portable if you move.
Project-based vouchers offer housing help to low-income, elderly and people with disabilities who live in a housing project. Many of these residents live off Social Security benefits and need help paying rent. These vouchers exist specifically to pay for housing for people who can’t afford market rent prices.
Unlike tenant-based vouchers that travel with the recipient, project vouchers are tied to a specific property. If you move out of that property while receiving a project-based voucher, you’ll need a new tenant-based voucher to continue getting housing assistance.
HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)
A program called HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing offers housing assistance, clinical services and case management for veterans in need. HUD runs the program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can apply for a housing voucher through this program if you or your spouse is a military veteran.
HUD-VASH vouchers work just like other HCVs and carry added benefits. For example, the program entitles you to services such as help during your housing search. You can also receive any medical treatment through the program’s clinical branch.
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HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Program
The HUD Continuum of Care program is a social program that provides supportive services to Americans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The program helps people experiencing homelessness transition safely back into permanent housing. Most major cities have their own CoC office.
If you’re homeless, your local CoC can help you find an emergency shelter for immediate sleep and safety. It can also connect you to transitional housing to help you develop the skills you need to live on your own. Once you’re ready to live on your own, the program can help you secure affordable housing in your area.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD works with private landlords to offer reduced-rent apartments across the country. The program also inspects properties in rental assistance programs to ensure they meet sanitary and safety standards. Should you have any concerns after moving in, you can report an issue directly to the property’s HUD program administrator.
HUD has a digital tool to search for subsidized apartments. If you find one that meets your needs, contact the apartment management office to apply for help.
National Housing Trust Fund
The National Housing Trust Fund is a federal housing program that funds construction, management and development of low-income housing. Property owners who receive this funding must commit to renting the housing at a rate that extremely-low-income tenants can afford. The government defines extremely low income as having an income that is below the federal poverty line or less than 30% of the area median income.
NHT funds are allocated on a state-by-state basis. Contact your state’s housing finance agency to learn if there are any NHT-funded buildings near you.
Find a Local Public Housing Agency
You can find a public housing agency near you by consulting the HUD’s agency directory. This tool includes the state, region and address of each agency, the names of their managers, as well as their contact information.
Other types of housing assistance also exist for people and families that fall into certain groups, including seniors, homeless individuals, military veterans and Native Americans. If you fall into any of these groups, check the Housing Help list to see if you are eligible to receive additional services.
12 Cited Research Articles
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2023, February 2). Continuum of Care Program. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/coc
- USA.gov. (2023, January 13). Housing Help. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/housing-help-audiences
- USA.gov. (2022, November 9). Find Affordable Rental Housing. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/finding-home
- NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. (2022, August). Mainstream Vouchers: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/services/mainstream-vouchers-faq-english.pdf
- Federal Register. (2021, September 7). Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Revised Implementation of the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program. Retrieved from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/27/2021-20734/section-8-housing-choice-vouchers-revised-implementation-of-the-hud-veterans-affairs-supportive
- National Low Income Housing Coalition. HTF: The Housing Trust Fund. (2020, March 5). Retrieved from https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/HTF_Factsheet.pdf
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Housing Choice Voucher Program. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). HUD’s Local Office Directory. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/local
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). NED FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/nedfaq
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Project Based Vouchers – Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_9157.PDF
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Rental Assistance. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/topics/rental_assistance
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Tenant Based Vouchers. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/tenant
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