HUD Section 202: Supportive Housing for the Elderly

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 housing program provides low-cost housing to qualified seniors who need affordable housing to meet their needs.

The HUD Section 202 program works to provide safe housing to help seniors live independently with some assistive services. Examples of assisted services include cooking, cleaning and transportation. When enrolled in the program, individuals work directly with a case manager who coordinates their care and services. The case manager may also coordinate training on independent living skills and other services as necessary.

To qualify for Section 202 housing, seniors must be at least 62 years of age or older. They must also meet income requirements outlined by the program. The program calculates income using a variety of sources including wages, retirement benefits and unemployment income. Below is valuable information on HUD Section 202, the requirements to qualify and how to apply for the program.

What is Section 202?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 housing is a low-cost housing option for very low-income elderly individuals. The program is funded by HUD which provides grants to developers and property owners who agree to participate in the Section 202 program. Those who manage HUD Section 202 properties agree to abide by rules governing the program which include:

  • Providing safe, decent and sanitary housing.
  • Performing repairs promptly.
  • Providing equal and fair treatment in the use of the building’s services and facilities.

Unlike other housing programs, Section 202 is not a voucher or rent subsidy. Through the program, individuals pay a reduced rental rate based on their income. The goal of the program is to minimize dependence on long-term care facilities by providing alternative living arrangements. As such, the program targets individuals who can live independently but still require supportive services. Such services include:

  • Cooking.
  • Cleaning.
  • Transportation.

Related Article: Senior Housing Options

Additionally, most housing units provide case management services. The case manager helps develop a care plan for the individual. The case manager schedules the individual’s supportive services. They coordinate other services for the senior such as mental health care, training in independent living skills and help obtaining employment, if necessary. Case management services are optional, and residents of Section 202 housing are not required to accept these services as a condition of occupancy.

Seniors qualify for the program based on age and income. Once approved the senior works directly with the property manager or case manager at the property to determine the next steps for occupancy. Individuals may continue in the program if they continue to meet program eligibility criteria.

Age Requirements for Section 202 Housing

Seniors qualify for Section 202 assistance based on age, income and citizenship status. When applying for Section 202, applicants must provide all necessary documentation and agree to verification of all information contained within the application.

Per the program guidelines, seniors must be 62 years of age or older at the time of initial occupancy to qualify for the Section 202 housing program. Individuals younger than 62 years of age are not eligible for this program. However, those younger than 62 years of age who are disabled may qualify for other housing subsidies such as HUD Section 811.

Income Requirements for Section 202 Housing

A senior’s household income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for their area to qualify for the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.

Seniors pay one of three amounts for Section 202 assisted housing. The amount a person pays depends on the senior’s income which is calculated using a variety of sources. Residents pay the highest of the below:

  • 30 percent of the family’s adjusted income
  • 10 percent of the family’s monthly income
  • Welfare rent

The program uses all sources of income to calculate the senor’s annual income. A senior’s assets are also used to calculate their income. Items used in the calculation include the following:

  • Gross wages
  • Net income from operation of a business
  • Disability payments
  • Unemployment and worker’s compensation payments
  • Welfare assistance
  • Military pay
  • Interest from real estate
  • Stocks, bonds and treasury bills
  • Retirement funds
  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Lump sum payments

Not all income is included in the calculation used to determine Section 202 eligibility. The program excludes certain amounts that might disqualify them based on their income. Items excluded from income the income calculation are:

  • Income from those younger than 18 years of age.
  • Reimbursable medical expenses.
  • Income of a live-in aide.
  • Earnings more than $480 for each full-time student 18 years of age or older.

Seniors must notify the HUD Section 202 program any time their family composition changes or their income increases or decreases by more than $200.

Citizenship Requirements for Section 202 Housing

Program participants must be a U.S. citizen or have an eligible noncitizen status to qualify for Section 202. Per Section 202 housing guidelines for citizenship, seniors may be asked to verify their identity with a driver’s license, birth certificate or Social Security card. Eligible noncitizens must provide the following documentation to qualify:

  • Alien Registration Receipt Card
  • Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record annotated with an approved refugee status
  • Form I-688B employment

Not all program participants are required to provide the above documentation. Seniors older than 62 years of age applying for Section 202 only need to provide a signed declaration of eligible noncitizen status and submit evidence of their age.

How to Apply for Section 202 Housing

Seniors must apply for Section 202 housing directly with the properties that offer the program. Applicants may visit the HUD website to use the property locator tool. Once the applicant finds a suitable property, they must contact the property for application procedures. The senior will be required to complete a HUD Section 202 application and provide documentation to prove their income, identity, age and residency status.

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