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Can Section 8 Look Into Your Bank Account When You Apply?

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  • The Public Housing Agency (PHA) that is deciding on your eligibility for a low-income housing program will ask for an up to date bank statement to show your bank account balances (Source)
  • But they can’t just look without your permission, according to the Right To Privacy Act of 1978
  • The PHA will also scrutinize your bank statement for any direct deposits amounts of social security, earned income, pensions, SSI or other deposits. If the bank account documentation is not submitted, it’s likely that the PHA will deny your application
  • It’s important to understand the income requirements/limitations when it comes to Section 8- which is presumably why people are concerned about having their bank accounts examined
  • Remember, in order to figure out if you qualify, you’ll need to examine the median annual income for the neighborhood where the housing is located. You have to earn less than 80 percent of that amount (Source)

Section 8 is a government-sponsored program that is designed to pay a client’s rent. The program was created to help low-income people to afford housing. Keep in mind that Section 8 doesn’t always cover a tenant’s total rent cost.

The agency can sometimes pay a portion of a client’s rent and the client will be expected to cover the rest. Since this is the case, people often wonder can Section 8 look into your bank account when you apply? Keep reading the following material to find out the answer to this question.

Section 8 Requirements

Section 8 uses a set of eligibility criteria to determine who can receive this assistance. These requirements include income level, family status, citizenship status, and student status. Background checks are not uncommon for Section 8.

Other criteria for this rental assistance program include a disclosure of financial records and assets. Remember, each state can also have their own rules for Section 8 eligibility.

Poverty Guidelines and Section 8

Section 8 is basically founded on the principle of helping low-income people with rental assistance. What this means is that an applicant will have to meet certain financial criteria to be accepted in the program.

Section 8 rules generally require a person to have an income that is considered within the poverty guideline requirements.

In other words, a family (or an individual) who makes less than the standard income for their family size will be eligible for this program.

For example, the U.S. median income in 2019 was $69,000 (rounded up) for a family of 4. A family of 4 that does not make this amount of money will then be eligible for Section 8. Once again, Section 8 normally does not pay all a person’s rent.

So, a family of 4 could make $45,000 and use Section 8 to help supplement their rental payments. Keep in mind that a person’s rental assistance is also determined by the median income for their area and by the rental housing prices within their area as well.

Financial Records and Assets Disclosure

Financial Records and Assets Disclosure

Section 8 programs are typically run by public housing programs which are a part of the government’s HUD or Housing and Urban Development Agency.

Remember, that each state has their own eligibility program for Section 8. You should also know that states will generally allow counties, cities, communities, and even local housing organizations to have their own rules as well.

Remember, each location has different needs and requirements. A one size fits all approach to housing is not always feasible. Sometimes, an agency will not require an applicant to disclose their financial records or assets.

However, many housing organizations will ask to see a person’s financial records and assets to make a determination about eligibility and the amount of financial assistance they are to receive. So, in short, Section 8 sponsors can request your bank account information.

Why does Section 8 need to review an applicant’s bank account information?

Why does Section 8 need to review an applicant’s bank account information?

The bottom line is that Section 8 wants to ensure that people are not taking advantage of this assistance. They also want to make sure that people are not depriving other people in need of help with their rent.

There are cases where families received hundreds of thousands of dollars in rental aid but did not need this type of help.

As a result, these individuals were able to have the government to virtually pay for most (or all) of their rent, while they used their money to build their wealth or for personal reasons. Since Section 8 is governmentally funded, they don’t want anyone to take advantage of this valuable resource for underprivileged individuals.

So, they will examine a person’s bank account and financial assets to see if they really need help with their rent. Again, a family of 4 could make $50,000 a year and get assistance from section 8 because they are considered impoverished when compared to other people in a neighborhood where their neighbors make $100,000.

However, another family of 4 making $50,000 a year could be in legal trouble with the government because the community where they live, is primarily occupied by residents who make $25,000 a year or less. It’s all relative.

The bottom line is that Section 8 applicants should make sure they understand the requirements and rules for their local state, community, and neighborhood. They should also be willing to provide this financial information to avoid any future problems with Section 8 enrollment or possible prosecution.

Also, if a person’s financial situation changes, they should report these changes to their Section 8 program sponsors to avoid any issues with this service.

The Section 8 program is designed to work best when applicants disclose all their information to the agency sponsoring the program.

(Resource Links)

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