Young adults with special needs sometimes need to utilize Section 8 housing vouchers – the main government program for people with low incomes who need housing assistance. Once an individual has obtained a voucher from his or her local housing agency (the process can take years), he or she is qualified to move into a subsidized housing unit in his or her community. The resident will pay approximately 35 percent of their income towards rent and the government will pay the landlord the balance, up to a certain amount. Section 8’s income and asset rules are reminiscent of SSI’s (Supplemental Security Income’s) rules, but they differ in fundamental ways, especially when it comes to the treatment of assets and how the housing agencies count income. Because obtaining Section 8 benefits can be a very long haul, it is important for parents of children turning 18 to think about applying for a voucher at that time, even though the child may not be ready to move out of the family home. Applying early will start the waiting game and make it more likely that a voucher is available when the time comes to use one.
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