Will I Lose My Section 8 if I Have No Income?

Will I Lose My Section 8 if I Have No Income?
Image Credit: Christopher Stokey/iStock/GettyImages

Section 8, formally known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, helps low- to moderate-income people pay for housing in the private rental market. Section 8 programs are run by local government agencies called housing authorities. The housing authorities require participants to pay 30 to 40 percent of their income to the landlord and the authority pays the remainder. If you lose your income, you must notify your housing authority immediately.

What Happens When You Lose Income

You do not lose your Section 8 benefits when you lose income. When your income decreases, your contribution to the rent also decreases. If you do not have any income, your contribution to the rent is zero.

Notifying Section 8

You must notify your housing authority of your income change within five to 30 days, depending on your location. You will be responsible for your previous portion of the rent until you notify your authority; failing to pay it can lead to eviction.

Notifiying Your Landlord

You do not have to send formal notice to your landlord about your loss of income because the housing authority will send notification of the change in rent amounts. However, you may want to give him a heads-up just in case there is a delay on the housing authority's end. This is especially true if the income loss occurred near the rental due date.

Income You Must Report

You must report any income you receive from unemployment benefits, Social Security or other social service programs. All section 8 programs consider these payments as forms of income and your housing authority could evict you for fraud if you fail to report them.