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FAQ Friday: VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

Posted by NMA on Jan 19, 2018 9:13:00 AM
FAQ Friday: VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

QUESTION     An applicant for assisted housing receives a pension from the VA. In addition to his pension he receives VA “aid and attendance” benefits. The veteran’s representative states that these payments are excluded federally but we cannot find an applicable reference in the HUD regulations. Are we supposed to include this income in the family’s annual income?

ANSWER     HUD has issued written guidance on the treatment of aid and attendance funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is also a pending regulatory change which has not yet been implemented.

The current guidance is found in the FAQs for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program:

4. Should VA Aid and Attendance and VA Housebound allowances be counted as income?

VA Aid and Attendance and VA Housebound allowances may be excluded under 24 CFR § 5.609(c)(4), which excludes amounts received by a family “specifically for, or in reimbursement of, the cost of medical expenses for any family member.” Live-in or periodic medical assistance and services of doctors and health care professionals are among the services that can be counted as medical expenses. The PHA should verify with the VA the amount received by the Veteran for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. The portion of the total benefit amount that the Veteran uses for medical expenses must be excluded from income. Any portion of the allowance not going towards such expenses would continue to be counted as income by the PHA when computing the family’s share of the rent.

A new exclusion is awaiting implementation under the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). Aid and attendance benefits will be excluded in their entirety when HOTMA is implemented, and this may be the basis of the applicant’s belief that the benefits are “federally excluded.” However, this and other HOTMA changes to income and rent determinations cannot be implemented until HUD has completed the formal rulemaking process. HUD has declined to estimate an effective date for the HOTMA changes. Here is an excerpt from a letter to executive directors dated September 26, 2016:

All of the other sections in HOTMA that impact the HCV and public housing programs require that HUD first issue a notice or regulation for the provision to become effective. Until HUD issues the applicable notices or regulations, your PHA may not implement those additional sections. This information will also be transmitted in the near future via a Federal Register notice.

We realize that many PHAs are eager to implement the flexibilities and other statutory changes provided under HOTMA, so please be assured that HUD is working diligently to develop and provide the necessary implementation guidance in a timely manner. If you have any questions, please send them to


Are you a PIH Alert subscriber? Every Friday, the PIH Alert includes one frequently asked question (FAQ) submitted by our readers. Sign up today for a free 30-day trial subscription! Email to get started. To submit your question, email Annie Stevenson at with the subject line "FAQ Friday."

Topics: HOTMA, PIH Alert, Q&A, Knowledge Base

PIH Posts Implementation Guidance for HOTMA HCV and PBV Provisions

Posted by NMA on Nov 2, 2017 8:34:18 AM

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) recently released Notice PIH 2017-21, “Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Provisions.” The 67-page notice provides guidance on changes to the HCV and PBV programs as implemented in a Federal Register notice on January 18, 2017, in addition to superseding and consolidating guidance from prior PBV-related PIH notices.

As you recall, the January 18 Federal Register notice and subsequent technical corrections amended the definition of units owned by the PHA, and addressed various implementation requirements for the statutory changes to the PBV program set forth under HOTMA. The notice is organized as a set of individual attachments and appendices dedicated to each of the requirements touched upon in the original implementation notice, summarizing and offering additional insight and guidance on:

  • PHA-owned units
  • PHA-owned units and independent entities
  • Percentage limitation (program cap) and PHA submission requirements
  • PBV percentage limitation (10 percent increase for eligible units)
  • Income mixing requirement (project cap)
  • Units not subject to the program cap or project cap
  • PBV HAP contract initial term and extensions, including different scenarios
  • Priority of PBV HAP contracts
  • PBV biennial inspections
  • Adding units to the PBV HAP contract without competition
  • PBV HAP contract termination or expiration without extension
  • Attaching PBVs to certain PHA-owned projects without following a competitive process
  • Project-basing Family Unification Program (FUP) and HUD–Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers
  • PBV program cap calculation instructions
  • PHA plan, administrative plan, and other PBV topics
  • Reporting
  • HCV, homeownership, and PBV inspection requirements

As mentioned above, the notice also consolidates and supersedes a number of prior PBV-related PIH notices:

  • Notice PIH 2002-22, which aligns with current PBV regulations and was written before such regulations existed, is rescinded due to no longer being necessary.
  • Notice PIH 2006-16 is rescinded because PBV rents are no longer capped at the LIHTC rent as they once were, so “grandfathering” of PBV projects is no longer necessary.
  • Notice PIH 2011-54 is superseded due to the definition of PHA-owned units and the proposal selection process being revised by HOTMA. Much of this notice is unchanged, however, and is included in as part of Appendix II of today’s notice.
  • Notice PIH 2015-05 adopted with updates to VMS reporting to include the latest release of the VMS User’s Manual, and also amended where Sections II and III of that notice, on the maximum amount of PBV assistance and PHA-owned units, respectively, have been superseded by HOTMA.
  • Notice PIH 2015-10, which covered project-basing HUD-VASH vouchers, is superseded in its entirety now that HOTMA authorizes project-basing VASH vouchers (and FUP vouchers for that matter) without prior approval.

Other HOTMA provisions related to the PBV program that were not implemented in the January 18 Federal Register notice are likewise not covered in Notice PIH 2017-21. You can access the notice on this page, at HUD’s website.

To receive more updates and analysis like this on the latest HUD news, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking stories and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals.

Topics: HOTMA, PBV, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, VASH, Industry News

2017 NMA Master Book updates

Posted by NMA on Sep 19, 2017 5:09:00 AM

master-book-updates.jpgNMA's revision services team has been working hard to get the latest editions of our Master Books written, published, and out to you! These books have been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, including HOTMA, VAWA 2013, and more. 

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Master Book has been been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, in addition to making the following additions and clarifications:

  • Several additions and modifications to account for the impact of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program on FSS
  • Clarifications regarding the ability of ineligible immigrants to participate in FSS
  • Additional references for use in FSS program administration
  • Other corrections and changes for accuracy, logical flow, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA HCV Executive Management Master Book has been been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, including the following:

  • Changes brought about by the final rule on small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), published November 16, 2016, specifically as relevant to rent reasonableness and changes in payment standard amounts
  • Modifications per the HOTMA implementation guidance published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017, which revised some requirements for inspections, the
  • Project-Based Voucher program, and special housing types
  • Multiple revisions to account for changes brought about by the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, also published November 16, 2016
  • Other fair housing-related changes with respect to the OGC guidance on harassment and discriminatory practices, the use of nuisance ordinances, and limited English Proficiency, respectively
  • Other modifications for clarity, accuracy, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA HCV Housing Qualty Standards Master Book has been completely revised, updated, and reformatted. This means that the book has an entirely new, streamlined look. The new book has likewise been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, edited for ease of reading, and is now presented in a more user-friendly format.

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Master Book has been been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, including the following:

  • Changes with respect to moves with continued assistance as specified in Notice PIH 2016-09
  • Modifications regarding the definition of independent student set forth in the Additional Supplementary Guidance on the eligibility of independent students under Section 8, issued September 21, 2016
  • Multiple revisions to account for changes brought about by the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, published November 16, 2016, including the addition of a sample Emergency Transfer Plan and several new HUD-required forms
  • Changes brought about by the final rule on small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), also published November 16, 2016, specifically as relevant to rent reasonableness and changes in payment standard amounts
  • Revision of rent reasonableness criteria under the Project-Based Voucher program, and the addition of a completely new section on administering PBVs under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD PBV)
  • Updated reference citations for consistency as well as other minor modifications for clarity, accuracy, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) Master Book includes the following revision:

  • An explanation of PHAS scoring for conversions under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program

In addition, revision service subscribers and customers who purchase the product for the first time along with the revision service will also receive a copy of NMA’s Public Housing Occupancy Tool and its accompanying instructions for use (a $249 value). This tool allows agencies to track occupancy data by development as well as portfolio, do trend analysis, and spot problem areas quickly. A large portion of the PHAS score is dependent upon keeping your units filled, and this tool can help to ensure there are no surprises when it comes time for HUD’s evaluation.

2017: For 2017, the NMA Public Housing Management (PHM) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the Streamlining Administration Regulations Final Rule, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, annual and interim reexaminations, and proration of assistance for mixed families, among other areas of program administration
  • Implementation guidance on the streamlining rule as described in Notices PIH 2016-05 and PIH 2016-06
  • Modifications for the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, issued November 16, 2016
  • Modifications for the final rule Instituting Smoke-Free Housing in Public Housing, issued December 5, 2016
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2017: The 2017 edition of the NMA Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) Master Book CD has been brought current with all regulatory guidance, resources, and tools, including:

  • The addition of UPCS Guidance and Protocol Clarifications from May 2016
  • The addition of Inspector Notice 2016-03 on UPCS deficiencies and industry standard repairs
  • Removal of obsolete software and other outdated reference materials

Questions about your revision services subscriptions? Contact Laurie Durrett in our accounting department and she'll be happy to assist you.

NMA revision services provide a yearly update to your NMA Master Books and model policies with explanations and guidance regarding the most current HUD rules and regulations. To stay updated on the latest program information, try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert. Email to get started.

Topics: books and revision services, FSS, HOTMA, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, public housing management, RAD, UPCS, VAWA

Legislative Update with Nan McKay

Posted by NMA on Aug 2, 2017 11:48:32 AM

The Housing Conference | August 21-22, 2017 | Boston, MA

While serving as executive director of a Minnesota housing authority, Nan McKay started one of the nation’s first Section 8 programs. She has previously written for the NMA blog on the topic of executive management and high performance as well as stories from her fifty years in the housing industry.

With three decades of experience in welfare and public housing, Annie Stevenson shares her expertise in many ways at NMA, serving as a trainer to thousands of housing authority staff every year; as a technical researcher who analyzes and deciphers new HUD regulations; and as a technical writer, contributing to NMA Master Books, seminars, and model policies as well as writing the popular daily PIH Alert. Nan and Annie will be presenting the following session at The Housing Conference.

Regulatory Knowledge for Smart Management

Legislative Update with Nan McKay

Nan McKay, President, NMA
Annie Stevenson, Senior Trainer and Technical Writer, NMA

Learn “the latest and greatest” from technical expert Annie Stevenson and get the overall legislative perspective from Nan McKay. This is always one of our most popular sessions; don’t miss it! Nan and Annie will fill us in on the most important changes of 2017, plus a forecast of what’s ahead for 2018.


Learn more


Nan, Annie, and many other incredible presenters will be available for limited free one-hour Q&A sessions at the The Housing Conference this month in Boston, MA. Registered participants can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis now. Register online or email for more information.

Topics: Executive Team, final rule, HOTMA, Program News and Notices, The Housing Conference

HUD Publishes Technical Corrections to HOTMA Implementation Notice

Posted by NMA on Jul 17, 2017 9:08:21 AM

technical corrects HOTMA implementation noticeOn Friday in the Federal Register, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published several technical corrections and clarifications to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) provisions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) it had issued on January 18. These changes are in part based on public comments from the first notice. In brief, the corrections and clarifications are as follows:

  • The original notice used the phrase ‘‘50 percent or more’’ to define a level of control that constitutes a controlling interest and would thus indicate PHA ownership. The threshold for control should be ‘‘more than 50 percent’’ rather than ‘‘50 percent or more.’’
  • The original notice inadvertently excluded from the list of excepted units those units that have received assistance under Section 201 of the Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1978. Today’s notice adds the Flexible Subsidy program in both lists.
  • The original document inadvertently referred to the ‘‘site of the original public housing development’’ instead of ‘‘site of the original development.’’ To avoid any indication that this requirement is only applicable to former public housing units as opposed to all the covered forms of HUD assistance, ‘‘public housing’’ is removed from this part.
  • The original guidance states that ‘‘if the FSS family fails to successfully complete the FSS contract of participation or supportive services objective and consequently is no longer eligible for the supportive services, the family must vacate the unit…and the PHA shall cease paying housing assistance payments on behalf of the ineligible family.’’ To avoid misinterpretation that could imply that a PHA could, under HOTMA, establish a supportive services exception based exclusively on participation in FSS, rather than in combination with another supportive services option where participation is voluntary, and to avoid being misconstrued that this conflicts with current FSS requirements, which do not allow termination from the housing assistance program for failure to complete the FSS contract of participation, HUD has amended this language to eliminate the ambiguities.
  • The definition of new construction units was previously inconsistent in the January 18 guidance, and has been updated to be both correct and consistent in sections referring to project-based voucher (PBV) assistance.
  • HUD stated in the original document that in order to avail itself of the exemption of the competitive award of PBVs, the PHA must “be planning rehabilitation or construction on the project with a minimum of $25,000 per unit in hard costs.” However, because this would not be applicable in a situation where the PHA is replacing a public housing site or property, or a site with PHA-owned or controlled existing housing, several corrections to Section H of the notice have been made.
  • Other typographical errors have also been corrected, as specified in today’s notice.

In a separate correction entry for the January 18 notice, PIH also noted that the original document had been published in the Proposed Rules section of the Federal Register, when it should have appeared in the Rules section. The effective date for the original notice—April 18, 2017—remains unchanged.

Got questions about HOTMA? All of NMA's HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules. Register at least 45 days in advance for most seminars and you’ll receive a 10 percent discount. (The discount does not apply to seminars hosted by housing authorities or associations.)

Topics: HOTMA, HQS, inspections, PBV, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, rent calculation, seniors and elderly, VASH, veterans, persons with disabilities

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