Living On Social Security & Need Help With Housing? Read This Now
(BrightPress.org) – Many Social Security recipients have found themselves struggling to meet housing costs as prices continue to rise due to the pandemic. If you or someone you know receives social security and needs help, you may be eligible for emergency government assistance.
During the pandemic’s peak, Congress allocated over $46 billion for emergency housing assistance through its two stimulus programs. As of the end of February, roughly $30 billion had been pledged or spent, with $16 billion still available. Specialized programs are available to renters in rural areas as well as Native American renters.
These programs provide temporary emergency fixes, but some people need additional longer-lasting help. Social Security recipients within certain income guidelines may qualify to lower their monthly housing payments by utilizing these programs.
Federal Housing Assistance Programs
Social Security recipients struggling to make their rent, especially as the cost of living continues to rise, may need to consider long-term housing assistance programs. The federal Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) provides benefits such as the Housing Voucher Choice Program, as well as public housing options, to help renters on a long-term basis.
HUD provides the following three types of housing assistance through local and state agencies.
Subsidized housing: Some landlords may work with local housing agencies to provide rental units. These units are paid partially by the renter, with the agency paying the difference as a subsidy.
Housing Vouchers: The Housing Voucher Choice Program, formally known as Section 8, provides renters with a voucher usable for a portion of their rent.
Public Housing: These are public rental units owned by your local housing agencies. Rent prices for these units vary depending on your income.
Emergency Rental Assistance Programs
In 2021, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. With a collective $46.55 billion, these acts allocated funds to state, local, and tribal agencies that help provide housing services to local renters in need.
These programs were intended to assist low-income Americans who have fallen behind on rent, utilities, or mortgage payments during the pandemic and the recovery period. Lawmakers also strove to avoid a flood of evictions and foreclosures as the federal moratorium on eviction was lifted.
Since money received by social security recipients can affect their payments, the program was designed to ensure that these benefits will not count against their Social Security income limits. This prevents them from losing or lowering the funding they receive from the SS program.
The federal government has begun redirecting money from local districts with less need to those with higher needs. While some funding does remain in less impacted areas, those in need should contact their local housing agency to learn how to apply for assistance. The government expects that these funds will be nearly depleted by the end of the summer, so if you or someone you know needs help, please don’t hesitate to apply.
As these funds were distributed through local and state agencies, you can apply for funding in several places. Contact your local housing agencies if you have any questions about funding or eligibility requirements. State agencies that run housing programs can help direct residents to their appropriate agencies for help.
Eligibility for these programs can vary widely depending on the cost of living, and benefits are calculated by an applicant’s income range and what percentage of income goes towards housing. Individuals in areas with a higher cost of living may still be eligible even if their income is above limits in other places. Rent costs are rising steeply across the country, and the cost of living can be an essential factor for those relying on Social Security as their sole source of income.
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