New HUD Notice for Waivers for Verification of Date of Birth; Disability Status; Income; and Eligibility for Families Experiencing Homelessness and Applying to the HCV, PBV, and PH Programs

By: Tushar Gurjal, Senior Policy Manager

On May 10, HUD published a notice titled “Streamlined Review Process for Regulatory Waivers to Expedite Admission to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), Project-based Voucher (PBV), and Public Housing Programs for Persons Experiencing Homelessness” (Notice PIH 2024-17). This notice applies to the HCV, PBV, and Public Housing (PH) programs. This notice does not apply to Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) and Stability Vouchers (SVs), though it does apply to other Special Purpose Vouchers (SPVs).

The notice provides a streamlined process for submission and review of two regulatory waivers: 1) third-party verification of date of birth and person’s disability status; and 2) third-party verification of income and assets. These waivers are offered as a tool to respond to families experiencing homelessness. If granted, the waivers will remain in effect for 12 months and will provide alternative requirements. The notice also provides guidance on other recently streamlined policies.

Policies PHAs May Take Advantage of To Verify Income Without A Waiver (I.e., Recently Streamlined Policies)

The following policies were implemented by Notice PIH 2023-27, which implements Section 102 and 104 of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). They may be implemented before the other sections of HOTMA.

Verification of Social Security Number (SSN)

Housing agencies must first attempt to obtain a valid SSN card or an “original document issued by a federal or state government agency that contains the name and SSN of the individual, along with other identifying information.” If the person is unable to provide that, the PHA may accept an individual’s self-certification of the SSN and at least one-third party document (e.g., bank statement, utility or cell phone bill, benefit letter, etc. with the name of the individual). The PHA must document why the SSN documentation was not available. If later, the SSN is subsequently verified in the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system, no further verification is required. If the SSN fails the SSA identity match, then an official federal or state document with the name and SSN must be obtained or the assistance must be terminated. Emergency Housing Vouchers, SVs, and HUD-VASH vouchers have different requirements.

Date of Written, Third-Party Verification

Housing agencies must verify information related to family income, assets, and certain expenses. A original or authentic document generated by a third-party source dated within 120 days of the date received by the PHA is acceptable third-party verification. For fixed income sources, a statement within the benefit year is acceptable.

Self-certification of Zero Income

Housing agencies may accept a self-certification of zero income from a family. The self-certification does not have to be notarized.

Streamlined Waiver Process

To request a waiver under this streamlined process, PHAs must show circumstances or factors why the waiver request is necessary. These circumstances or factors may include the following:

  • A significant portion of the area’s population is homeless or there’s a significant increase in the number of homeless people;
  • An emergency declaration by a city, county, or state official related to the homelessness crisis in the PHA’s jurisdiction;
  • The PHA is admitting to the HCV, PBV, or PH programs a signification number of people experiencing homelessness;
  • The length of time it takes to admit people of experiencing homelessness versus other people being admitted to these programs is longer;
  • The percentage of applicant families experiencing homelessness face when attempting to gather documentation;
  • The length of time it typically takes to gather appropriate documentation for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Other data or lessons from prior regulatory waivers;
  • Policies, programs, or partnerships that the PHA has in place to reduce barriers for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Existing referral partnerships with CoCs or Survivor Service Providers; or
  • Specific challenges to a community and a description of how the flexibilities would help the community.

Verification of Date of Birth and Disability Status Waiver

If HUD waives this requirement, the PHA may accept a self-certification from the applicable family member of date of birth or disability status. The PHA must verify these statuses within 90 days of admission. Self-certification of date of birth cannot be waived when it is related to the eligibility of a specific special purpose voucher, like Mainstream voucher, where the head of household, co-head, or spouse is a person with disabilities age 62 or older. The waiver will be granted for a period of 12 months.

Eligibility Determination, Income Verification

Housing agencies must demonstrate efforts to obtain third-party verification prior to accepting self-certification except when self-certification is explicitly allowed. These requirements may be waived by HUD, if the family is experiencing homelessness.

For a family experiencing homelessness, the following alternative requirements must be met, if a waiver is approved. First, the PHA must request third-party documentation. Second, if the family is unable to provide third-party documentation at request, the PHA may immediately obtain self-certification. Third, applicants must submit self-certification within 60 days prior to voucher issuance or admittance to the PBV or PH program. Fourth, if the family is unable to provide third-party verification, the PHA must receive information verifying the family is eligible within 90 days after the PHA enters into a HAP contract or 90 days after admission into the PBV or PH programs. Fifth, if the family is ineligible, the PHA must take steps to terminate that family from the program. Sixth, the waiver will be granted for 12 months.

Waiver Submission Requirements

To submit an expedited waiver request to HUD, a housing agency must submit the following information:

  • PHA name, code, and business address;
  • Name and email for PHA point of contact;
  • Regulatory waivers being requested;
  • A PHA-specific justification of the waiver that shows good cause. It should include why the PHA needs the waiver and the impact on PHA operations if the waiver is not provided.

Housing agencies can submit waiver requests here.

Moving to Work agencies are requested to utilize their flexibilities to better serve people experiencing homelessness in their communities.

The full notice can be read here.

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