Social Security Disability Housing Assistance

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal government agency that provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. The SSA offers two programs for people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The SSDI program is created for people who have previously worked and paid into the Social Security system. The SSI program is for people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or 65 years of age or older. 

Both programs provide social security cash assistance to help pay for basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. The SSA also partners with other programs and services to help people with disabilities, including finding housing rental assistance.

Can I Receive Housing Assistance on Disability Insurance?

While the SSA doesn’t offer social security housing assistance directly, many federal programs are available to help those with disabilities, especially those with low income. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers several programs to help disabled people with housing costs. 

What Type of Housing Assistance is Available? 

The Section 811 program provides housing rental assistance to non-elderly and low-income people with disabilities. The program aims to empower people with disabilities to live independently in the community by providing affordable, accessible, and integrated housing. The program is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program for People With Disabilities.

Who Qualifies for Housing Assistance?

To qualify for this program, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status
  • Have a disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death
  • Have very low income, as defined by HUD 

You can apply for the program through your local public housing authority if you meet these criteria. You must provide documentation of your disability and income. Once you are accepted into the program, you will be given a voucher that you can use to rent a unit in any participating multifamily housing development. 

The voucher will cover a portion of your rent, and you will be responsible for the rest. The amount of the voucher depends on HUD’s determination of your family’s “principal limit” and may be adjusted annually.

It’s crucial to note that individuals experiencing homelessness can apply for disability benefits as people who are not homeless. Social security and those experiencing homelessness can go hand-in-hand, as over 50% of people experiencing homelessness have a disabling condition.

What Will Housing Cost on Average?

When you receive the voucher, the Section 8 housing program will subsidize up to 70% of the rent. The voucher holder is responsible for finding their own housing and is free to choose any place that meets program requirements and accepts voucher payments. 

The voucher amount is also capped at a “fair market rent” (FMR). The FMR is different for every area and is based on the average rents in that area. You can look up the FMR for your area on the HUD website.

Things to Know Before Applying For Housing Assistance

Here are four things to remember before applying for housing rental assistance:

Know Where and How to Apply

The first step in getting housing assistance is determining if you qualify for your social security disability benefits. You can achieve this by contacting your local public housing authority or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If you have a disability, some organizations specifically help people with disabilities find affordable housing.

You can also look for affordable housing listings on credible websites. These listings usually include information on whether the housing is accessible and what type of assistance is available based on your income and other socioeconomic factors.

Prepare Your Paperwork

You’ll need to prepare your proof of income and other financial documents before you apply for public housing assistance. It includes your:

  • Social Security disability award letter
  • Pay stubs or other proof of income (if possible)
  • Bank statements
  • Rent receipts or mortgage payment history (if applicable)

Identify Property Must-Haves

Knowing what you need for a home is critical when applying for social security housing assistance. You don’t want to move to a new place only to find out it doesn’t suit your needs. 

  • Accessibility Features – if you use a wheelchair, you will want to ensure the property you’re interested in is accessible. It might include features like wide doorways, an elevator, or a ramp. It’s also important to consider other special needs like reachable counters, light switches, and electrical outlets.
  • Reasonable Accommodations – Service animals and designated parking spots are a few of the common requests for reasonable accommodations. You’ll also want to list specific needs that will help you live more independently.
  • Home Modifications – Additionally, check if you can request reasonable home modifications, such as widened doorways, sound improvements, and modified kitchen appliances. Doing so can help you maintain your independence and live more comfortably.

Look for Affordable Options

Having a single source of income and receiving low SSI can be barriers to affordable housing. You can contact your local government or non-profit organizations for help with your rent or security deposit. You can also consider applying to low-income developments to get affordable housing.

Additional Tips To Keep In Mind

Some additional tips to keep in mind:

Double-Check the Lease

It is always important to double-check your lease agreement, especially if you are receiving social security disability housing assistance. Certain conditions in the lease could increase your leases, such as reasonable accommodations and modifications for your disability.

Craft a Safety Plan

If you are disabled and living alone, it is important to have a safety plan in place in case of an emergency, especially in public housing. It could include having someone check on you regularly, keeping your phone within reach at all times, and knowing how to call for help if needed.

Inspect the Home

It’s also best to have a potential home inspected by your occupational therapist to ensure that it will work well for your needs. If there are any potential problems, you can bring them up with the landlord or property manager before you sign a lease.

How Trajector Can Help

Trajector is a national non-profit organization that provides housing assistance to people with disabilities who are receiving Social Security disability benefits. Our goal is to help people with disabilities, and special needs live as independently as possible in the community of their choice. 

We can help you find and apply for Social Security disability housing assistance programs. Contact us today to learn more about the different programs you might be eligible for.

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