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Affordable Housing- Can I get it on disability?

How do I find affordable housing?

One of the greatest challenges for disability recipients is finding affordable housing. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income and you are getting approximately $700 per month to support yourself, chances are you may be struggling to survive and purchase your basic necessities.

Many SSI recipients have asked what type of housing assistance they might qualify to receive and who they need to contact to get affordable housing. The Social Security Administration does not provide housing assistance. This type of assistance is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD has several programs that help individuals acquire decent shelter at rents they can afford.

According to HUD, “the first low-rent public housing projects in the United States were constructed as the result of the vast public works program set in motion in 1933 by the National Industrial Recovery Act. The Housing Act of 1937 marked the earliest of the Federal housing programs designed to meet the direct concerns for the well-being of individuals. The housing acts of 1949 and 1954 created the massive urban renewal programs.”

What affordable housing options are available to low income applicants?

HUD provides three types of affordable housing assistance:

  1. Public housing - Public housing is low income residence which is operated by the housing authority. Public housing comes in all shapes and sizes, including high rise apartments or single family homes. Public housing is available to the disabled, elderly and low income.

  2. Section 8 housing – Residents must find their own housing, but the government provides vouchers that provide subsidies for the rent. Section 8 housing is also available to the low income, elderly and disabled. Generally, Section 8 housing allows the individual or family to rent single family homes, townhouses, or apartments. Housing units are not limited by location, and they do not have to be located within a specific housing project. There are specific criteria for renting, and generally the total rent plus utilities must not exceed a maximum amount.

  3. Privately owned subsidized housing- The Federal Government provides subsidies directly to the owner who then applies the subsidies to the rents he/she charges low-income tenants.

Additionally, in certain rural communities the Department of Agriculture may also provide certain types of assistance to residence to help them repair their house, acquire loans or get additional rental assistance.

How will I survive on my disability payments?

One of the most common question is, “How can I survive on my SSI or SSDI payments?” If you have been accustomed to an extravagant lifestyle you may have a tough time adjusting to living on only a disability payment. There are several programs such as food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid, Medicare and local charities which can offer additional assistance. Other SSI recipients are able to rely on friends and family to help them too.

Contacting HUD and finding out if you might qualify for one of their three housing assistance programs is the first step to finding affordable housing assistance.
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