Can Section 8 Find Out If Your Working? Whether you’re applying for Section 8 or already benefiting from Section 8 housing assistance, you need to be honest about your household income.
It might be tempting to say you earn less than you do so you can get more of your rent paid, but that would be a mistake for several reasons.
In this article, we’ll answer some common questions people have about Section 8 housing and tell you what could happen if you break the rules.
Can Section 8 Find Out If Your Working in 2023?
Yes! Section 8 is a government program and the government can easily find out everything about you. And when it comes to Section 8 housing assistance, the authorities don’t even need to make an extra effort to find out about your household income because they use the Enterprise Income Verification System (EIV) which puts your financial data at their fingertips.
When you apply for Section 8 assistance, you have to prove your income by providing supporting documents including your tax return, your pay stubs, and copies of your bank statements.
The EIV system is able to verify your income because it receives information about your wages and employment from the data provided by your employer when they file payroll taxes.
So if you’re working when you apply for Section 8, your supporting documents will show your employment income and the EIV system will verify it. If you under-report your income, you’ll be found out.
If you’re not working when you make your application, you’ll be asked to show the income you receive as unemployment benefits or social security and disability benefits.
Once again, the EIV system is able to verify that information.
The Enterprise Income Verification system also checks to make sure that you’re only enrolled with one housing assistance program and that you don’t owe any money to a Public Housing Authority (PHA).
Once you’re approved for a Section 8 voucher, you’re required to notify your (PHA) of any changes in your circumstances. This means that if you start working or get a raise, you need to inform your PHA.
The PHA will also regularly review your income to make sure that you’re still eligible for the program and receiving the correct amount of housing assistance.
Related Article: Section 8 Rules On Getting Married To A Felon
Can Section 8 Find Out If you’re Working A Cash Job?
As you now know, if you work for a legitimate employer who complies with income reporting requirements, then your income will be known to your PHA whether you report it or not.
But what about a cash job? How can your PHA find out about that income?
One way that they could find out is if someone who doesn’t like you decides to report you. This could be a friend, relative, coworker, or neighbor. Trusting that other people won’t report you are a big risk to take.
Another way the PHA can find out about a cash job is by looking at your credit report. When you initially apply for housing assistance and when you complete your annual public housing assistance recertification packet, you have to give consent for a background check which includes a credit report.
If your credit report shows that you make regular payments on loans and credit card balances, and those credit amounts seem inconsistent with your reported income, the housing agency could decide to take a closer look at your financial situation.
Can You Work And Still Get Section 8 Benefits?
There’s a widespread misconception about Section 8 housing, and many people believe that you’re only eligible for housing assistance if you’re unemployed.
That’s not true.
As long as your household income falls below the income limits set for your area, and you meet the other eligibility requirements, you can qualify for Section 8 assistance.
Section 8 provides rent assistance for low-income families and individuals. And you might be surprised at the amount the government considers low-income.
For example, in 2022 a family of 4 in Los Angeles with a household income of $59,550 is within the very low-income category and is eligible for Section 8 assistance.
Section 8 sets income limits based on the median income for the area, the average cost of rent, and family size.
What Happens If Section 8 Finds Out You Didn’t Report All Of Your Income?
Penalties for knowingly falsifying your income can be severe. Forgetting to include a source of income you didn’t realize you had to report is a mistake that can be rectified by repaying any overpayments, but intentionally committing fraud is a crime that will be prosecuted.
Knowingly supplying false information to a government agency is a felony, and if you’re convicted of the offense, penalties include fines and jail time. If anyone helped you to conceal your income or advised you to conceal your income, then you could also be charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.
Besides the criminal charges and penalties, you’ll lose your Section 8 support and you won’t be eligible for assistance in the future. Any overpayments you received will also have to be repaid.
Having a felony on your record will negatively affect your life for years to come and will make finding employment and accommodation more difficult.
Hiding Your Income Isn’t Worth the Risk
Entering a lower income figure on an application might not seem like a big deal, but when you underreport your income, you’re fraudulently attempting to obtain thousands of dollars in benefits from the government.
Rents are currently very high and your wages might be too low to cover everything you need to pay for each month, but defrauding the Section 8 assistance program isn’t the way to go. You’re only inviting more problems and stress into your life.
If you’re already working and haven’t reported your income change, check your Section 8 agreement and find out what the time limit is for reporting a change in your circumstances – it’s usually 10 days. Even if you’re outside the time limit, the sooner you report the change the better.
That way you can make a case that you forgot or didn’t understand your obligation to report the change and will hopefully be given the opportunity to repay the money.
It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer for advice so that they can help you set things right in a way that minimizes your risk of criminal charges.
Can Section 8 find out if you’re working? Yes, they can and they probably will. If you work for a legitimate employer, your income will be automatically reported to your public housing authority. There’s no way to hide that kind of income.
If you have a job that pays cash under the table, there’s always a chance that someone will report you to the authorities.
Given the long waiting list for Section 8 vouchers and apartments, once you’re getting rental assistance, you need to stick to the rules so you don’t lose the roof over your head or get charged with fraud.
Robert Eric (a lover of Cats and Dogs) is the co-founder of HireFelonsJobs. In our search for a better life, after… A platform was created for the purpose of easing the search for ex-convicts.