Section 8 Housing & Life Planning

What is Section 8 Housing?

Through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Housing is for low-income individuals, including the edlerly and those with disabilities. Eligible individuals are given vouchers that can be used to lower their rent. To qualify for Section 8, your income must not exceed 50% of the local median income. Although vouchers are given by public housing agencies, the Section 8 program is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While Section 8 is a great program in theory, it can be difficult to receive a voucher and also find a landlord or property manager who will accept Section 8 vouchers. The difficulty in finding Section 8 housing further emphasizes the critical shortage of housing for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Special Needs Trusts & ABLE Accounts 

A large part of planning for the life of a loved one with a developmental disability is planning for their life after there are no family members or close family friends to care for them. One way to plan for their future is by setting up a third party special needs trust (SNT). A third party SNT allows the individual to receive payments from a designated trustee, therefore allowing the individual to continue receiving any government assistance such as a Section 8 voucher. As opposed to an ABLE account, there is no limit on the amount of money left in a SNT or the number of SNTs established for someone. 

An ABLE account is a tax-free savings account for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE account differs from a SNT in the sense that limits are placed on the annual contribution to the account. In 2022 the annual contribution cannot exceed $16,000. If this limit is exceeded, the individual might lose government benefits. Eligibility requirements for opening an ABLE account are more complicated than having a third party SNT established, although a SNT is arguably much more expensive to set up as it requires the use of an attorney. 

To learn more about Section 8, ABLE accounts, and Special Needs Trusts, visit the resources below.

I/DD Topics & Trends with Kalisha Webster – Transcript & Recording

ABLE National Resource Center

Find your local public housing agency

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