FAQ #4: If I add someone to my Section 8 who earns money, will I lose my Section 8 Voucher?

Find out what happens if you add someone who earns money to your Section 8 voucher. If they start living with you, you may be taking a big risk!

There may be a number of problems associated with allowing someone who earns money to live with you.

Lets take a look at what the Section 8 voucher guidelines are in this type of a situation.

Adding an income earner to your Section 8 Voucher

Oftentimes it happens that a Section 8 voucher holder wants to have an additional person living with them. This may be a boyfriend/girlfriend, ex-spouse, parent, or other family member. If this person happens to also have an official reported income, you may run into a major problem.

Once you officially add them to your household, you may end up being OVER the income limit for Section 8. Consequently, you will loose your voucher. I repeat. YOU WILL LOSE YOUR VOUCHER!

Here are income eligibility guidelines for Section 8 based on household size. Take a look and see whether adding another person puts you over the limit.

Note, that the figures below are just an example. They are from Massachusetts, from 2014. To get the most recent income eligibility guidelines in your area, contact your local Housing Authority. Get this information BEFORE you officially add someone to your household.

Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8, Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP)

If you are in a public housing, the AHVP program, or private multifamily developments with project-based Section 8 assistance, your yearly income needs to be less than 80% of the area median income:

Family size Yearly Income
1 $44,750
2 $51,100
3 $57,500
4 $63,900
5 $69,000
6 $74,100
7 $79,250
8 $84,350

Section 8 Voucher

If you are getting a Section 8 voucher, your yearly income needs to be less than 50% of the area median income (although in some cases the income limit could be as high as 80% of area median income):

Family size Yearly Income
1 $30,850
2 $35,250
3 $39,650
4 $44,050
5 $47,550
6 $51,100
7 $54,600
8 $58,150

Failing to Report a New Household Member

If you decide to live with someone who earns money WITHOUT officially reporting it and adding this person to your Section 8 voucher, you may be running a big risk! First, this is a serious violation of federal and state guidelines. When you fill out your annual household and income verification form, you sign that all the information is true. If you fail to report the new member, and this is discovered, your Section 8 voucher will be immediately revoked. In most states you will not be able to get Section 8 again because you have been committing fraud.

Also, you have to understand that when you take the risk of allowing someone to live with you, your friends, neighbors landlord, someone from HA may find out and report you. All of a sudden you will end up in a situation where your voucher is taken away, and you had no idea this was coming.

The reality is, this happens a lot! If you think no one will find out what you are doing, you are dead wrong. People get reported all the time and consequently loose their vouchers.

How Long Can Someone Stay With You Without Breaking The Law?

According to Section 8 guidelines, someone may stay with you no more than:

  1. 15 consecutive days
  2. 30 days TOTAL in a 12 month period

Other considerations

If income will not be a problem, you need to make sure that the person you want to add does not have a felony conviction, read here can a convicted felon get section 8. If they happen to have a felony, you will have to go through the eligibility process all over again and that person will be subjected to a criminal background check. In the end, there is a chance that you may end up loosing your Section 8 voucher.

Also, you need to remember that there is a distinction between officially adding someone on to your household and simply having a “visitor”. You can read about the difference here – difference between Visitor and Authorized Guest

How Does Adding Someone to a Section 8 Voucher Impact Unit Size

If you decide to officially add someone to your household, you need to realize that this may impact the size of the unit you are eligible for. For example, if this will be a spouse, then everything will stay the same, because he/she will live in your bedroom.

However, if this is a relative, they will require an additional room. The good news is that you may be eligible for a larger unit! The bad news, you will need to look for a unit and move once again.

Final words of advice; think very carefully of all the pros and cons of officially adding someone to your section 8 voucher. If something happens and you loose it as a result of this decision, it make take a few years before you apply and get another one.