Eligibility Guide To Government Benefits & Family Resources

Section 8 Background Guide

What is Section 8 Housing?


The term, ‘Section 8’ is widely used in reference to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937. This act, and specifically this section, provides legislative details describing a government assistance program to help US citizens and those who qualify pay for their rent. Though the law has been around for a while, the benefits those who qualify get, what assistance can be given, and even the unfortunate limitations of the law are all relatively unchanged.


History of Section 8

Much like various other government assistance programs, the Federal Housing assistance program was born during the Great Depression. Many American citizens found themselves without basic necessities, such as a home to live in, and the Federal government created this program in an attempt to help.

Over time, the Housing Act changed, starting out as a program that required tenants to live in certain buildings, before evolving into one that allowed tenants to receive a housing allowance to help pay for their rent. In 1974, Congress passed another Act that further amended the Housing Act of 1937 that created Section 8. This specific program in Section 8 allows the tenants to pay close to 30% of their income, with the Federal government covering the rest.


The Benefits of Section 8 for Those That Qualify

Perhaps the most important qualification is that an applicant lives under a landlord that allows Section 8 tenants, as landlords are not required by law to accept tenants who benefit from Section 8 Assistance.

However, most people will qualify to receive a housing assistance voucher if they fall below the Federal poverty line, are disabled, or are considered a homeless veteran.

While it is necessary for tenants to keep the program up-to-date on the status of any changes to their income, place of residence, number of dependents, and amount of assets, the tenant will usually only have to pay around 30% of their total rent.


The Section 8 Program decides how much the apartment’s rent should be, calculated at fair market value, and pays the landlord the remaining amount. On the subject of reporting changes, disabled citizens that are maintaining at least a part-time job are not impacted by an increase in their income due to Earned Income Disallowance.