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FAQ Friday: Port Returning to Initial PHA

Posted by NMA on Jan 5, 2018 8:50:51 AM
FAQ Friday: Port Returning to Initial PHA

QUESTION     We are not sure what to do in this situation. An HCV participant has been in the process of moving into our PHA’s jurisdiction for several months. Our PHA issued a voucher with an expiration date 30 days after the expiration date of the voucher the client received from the initial PHA. We later approved a 30-day extension of the voucher term at the client’s request, and the extension is about to expire.

The client has not submitted any requests for tenancy approval (RFTAs). She says that she has applied with several local landlords, who have rejected her due to a recent history of eviction. The client has decided to return to her original PHA and seek housing in its jurisdiction. She is requesting that we grant a 60-day extension to seek housing there. We are hesitant to do this since it ties up one of our vouchers. Is our PHA responsible for extensions in this situation?

ANSWER     No, the receiving PHA (in this case, your agency) is not responsible for extending the voucher term when a client exercising portability decides to return to the initial PHA or to seek housing in a third jurisdiction. While not addressed in the applicable regulations, HUD has issued guidance on the issue in Notice PIH 2016-09:

Family Decides Not to Lease in the Receiving PHA’s Jurisdiction. If an incoming family ultimately decides not to lease in the jurisdiction of the receiving PHA, the receiving PHA must refer the family back to the initial PHA. The voucher of record for the family is once again the voucher originally issued by the initial PHA, and the initial PHA’s policies apply. Any extensions of the initial PHA’s voucher to allow the family additional search time to return to the initial PHA’s jurisdiction or to move to another jurisdiction are at the discretion of the initial PHA. The initial PHA must apply its own policies on moves for families that decide not to use their voucher to port to another jurisdiction.

Once the participant has decided not to lease a unit in your jurisdiction, your agency is no longer responsible for voucher extensions. The initial agency will have to decide whether to extend its voucher to provide additional search time.

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 sales@nanmckay.com to get started. To submit your question, email Annie Stevenson at annie@nanmckay.com with the subject line "FAQ Friday."

Topics: PIH Alert, Q&A, Knowledge Base

FAQ Friday: Social Security/SSI COLA

Posted by NMA on Dec 15, 2017 5:03:00 AM

q-and-a-standard.jpgQUESTION     I see that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced the 2018 cost of living adjustment (COLA). We are currently processing annual reexaminations which will be effective January 1, 2018. However, our clients have not yet received 2018 award letters for Social Security (SS) or SSI, and the EIV system is still showing the 2017 benefit amounts. Can we wait for updated documentation or must we apply the COLA beginning with January reexaminations?

ANSWER     Yes, you must apply the COLA beginning with January reexaminations which have not yet been completed. The SSA announced on October 13 that the Social Security and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits will increase 2 percent in 2018. HUD has issued guidance on applying the SSA COLA in Notice PIH 2012-10:

Effective the day after SSA has announced the COLA, PHAs are required to factor in the COLA when determining SS and SSI annual income for all annual reexaminations and interim reexaminations (in accordance with PHA-established policy) of family income which have not yet been completed and will be effective January 1st or later of the upcoming year.

To factor in the COLA, multiply the current benefit amount by the percentage increase. For example, imagine that you are processing a January reexam for Mr. Miller. The EIV printout shows current SS benefits of $1000 per month and Mr. Miller agrees with this amount. To project annual income for 2018:

  • Multiply the current benefit amount by the percentage increase: $1000 X 2% [or 0.02] (COLA rate) = $20 COLA
  • New gross SS benefit effective 01/01/2018 = $1020 ($1000 current benefit + $20 COLA)
  • Annual income effective 1/1/2018: $1020 X 12 = $12,240
  • Alternatively, you could multiply the current benefit by 102%

Document your calculation on the EIV report or case narrative. Leave a clear audit trail showing how you arrived at annual income shown on form HUD-50058.

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 sales@nanmckay.com to get started. To submit your question, email Annie Stevenson at annie@nanmckay.com with the subject line "FAQ Friday."

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, Q&A, Industry News, Knowledge Base

FAQ Friday: HCV Rent Increases

Posted by NMA on Dec 1, 2017 5:00:00 AM

Editor’s Note: Due to HUD’s recent publication of 2018 annual adjustment factors, we are reprising this FAQ from August 2015. The links have been updated for this year’s notice.

q-and-a-standard.jpg

QUESTION     You mentioned during a webinar that the only limit on rent increases in the HCV program is rent reasonableness. Our PHA restricts rent increases to the annual adjustment factors (AAFs) published by HUD. We have this policy in our administrative plan and have imposed this limit for years. We feel that this helps to control program costs and helps to control rents in the community as a whole. Why isn’t this permissible as long as it is stated in the administrative plan?

ANSWER     This is an example of a policy that was valid when written, but which is now obsolete. AAFs were used in the old certificate program to determine (or limit) owner rent increases. The certificate program came to an end 17 years ago. AAFs have never been used in the voucher program.

Each year HUD publishes a Federal Register notice discussing the AAFs. Here is an excerpt from this year’s notice, published November 8:

Housing Choice Voucher Program: AAFs are not used to adjust rents in the tenant-based or the project-based voucher programs.

Since agency policies must comply with regulatory requirements, PHAs do not have discretion to impose limits on rent increases in this manner. The applicable regulation is at 24 CFR 982.308(g):

The owner must notify the PHA of any changes in the amount of the rent to owner at least sixty days before any such changes go into effect, and any such changes shall be subject to rent reasonableness requirements.

The following is an excerpt from Section 12.5 of HUD’s HCV Guidebook:

INCREASES IN RENT TO OWNER
An owner may increase the unit rent any time an increase is allowed under the terms of the lease. The owner must give the PHA at least 60 days advance notice of any changes in the amount of rent to the owner. The allowed rent increase is the lesser of the following:

  • The reasonable rent as determined by the PHA; or
  • The amount requested by the owner.

Also please note the table in Chapter 1 of the guidebook, comparing the certificate and HCV programs:

Rent Increases:

CERTIFICATES: Annually on the anniversary date, the PHA uses annual adjustment factors published by HUD to approve rent increases which are subject to a rent reasonableness test.

HCV: Rent increases are not limited by the annual adjustment factor but are subject to a rent reasonableness test.

The current rule is intended to increase program participation by owners of properties in lower-poverty areas. The “market” rent is to be charged for both assisted and unassisted tenants.

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 sales@nanmckay.com to get started. To submit your question, email Annie Stevenson at annie@nanmckay.com with the subject line "FAQ Friday."

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, Q&A, rent calculation, Industry News, Knowledge Base

Calculating the EID exclusion

Posted by NMA on Jan 22, 2015 1:38:22 PM

Once you’ve figured out whether or not a family member qualifies for the earned income disallowance (EID), the next steps are to figure out the amount that is to be excluded. Calculating the EID is not as simple as just excluding all of the family member’s earned income. The regulations require that you exclude what’s called the incremental increase.

Essentially, this means that you're making a before-and-after comparison. You look at the EID family member’s income before they qualified for EID (which is called the baseline) and compare it to their income after they qualified for EID, excluding the difference. Typically, PHAs use the income from the family member’s most recent 50058, although this is a policy decision in the administrative plan or the ACOP rather than a HUD regulation.

The first thing to remember when calculating the exclusion is that the income comparison is only for the individual family member’s earnings, not the income of the entire family. EID is an individual exclusion.

EXAMPLE: Bob and Wanda live in a public housing unit. Wanda has been working and earning $15,000 a year. Bob has not been working but has been collecting veteran’s benefits in the amount of $12,000 a year. Bob then gets a job earning $22,000 a year and his veteran’s benefits stop.

Assuming he qualifies for EID, we would compare Bob’s $12,000 in veteran’s benefits to his new earnings of $22,000. We would not consider Wanda’s income when calculating Bob’s exclusion. Bob’s exclusion would be $10,000. We’d count all of Wanda’s income.

Another important thing to remember when calculating the exclusion is that the EID family member’s baseline never changes. Using the example above, regardless of any changes in income, Bob’s baseline will always be $12,000. He may experience increases or decreases in either his earned or unearned income during his time on EID, but that will not affect his baseline. The PHA will compare whatever his current earned income is to his baseline of $12,000.

EXAMPLE: Bob works at his job for six months and is then loses his job. He goes on unemployment and receives $13,000 per year. Several months later, Bob gets a new job earning $23,000 per year. Bob’s baseline remains $12,000. The PHA compares $12,000 to his current income of $23,000 and (assuming he is still in the full exclusion period) excludes $11,000.

Finally, when calculating the exclusion, it’s important to remember that EID only applies to increases in earned income. Using the example above, when Bob loses his job and goes on unemployment, all of his unemployment income is counted because it is unearned income. Bob will actually experience an increase in his rent as a result of going on unemployment.

EID does not protect the family from increases in rent due to increases in unearned income. When Bob gets his new job and goes back on EID, his rent will decrease. This can be difficult for families to understand since they are used to an income-based rent system where increases in income result in increases in rent, and decreases in income result in decreases in rent.

Trainer and consultant Samantha Sowards has been a part of the NMA team since 2008. For beginning and intermediate students, she recommends HCV and Public Housing Rent Calculation, available in both English and Spanish. Class attendees receive a free NMA Earned Income Disallowance (EID) kit on CD. The kit provides staff with simplified methods to accurately qualify families, calculate the exclusion amount correctly, and track throughout the up-to-48-month qualifying period. Easy computer installation allows staff to view instructions on their computer screens or print for reference.

Topics: EID, rent calculation, Trainers and Consultants, veterans, Knowledge Base

Getting EID right: Tip #5

Posted by NMA on Nov 18, 2014 9:54:40 AM

Tip #5: Remember that EID can go back in time.

For ease of calculation, HUD has said that the EID clock can start on the first of the month following the increase in earned income. This is true whether your PHA requires the family to report the increase or not.

At PHAs that don't require interim reporting, this means that EID is still applied retroactively to when the family member experienced the increase in income. At PHAs where interim reporting is required, staff must determine whether the family's reporting responsibilities were violated. A violation of family obligations may prompt the PHA to take action such as a warning conference or even termination of assistance, even though there has been no overpayment of subsidy.

To sum up, the five tips we've discussed are:

And if you're still in the mood for more on EID, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has two sets of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that can be accessed here and here, which will give you even more information on qualifying, tracking, and calculating.

Trainer and consultant Samantha Sowards has been a part of the NMA team since 2008. For beginning and intermediate students, she recommends HCV and Public Housing Rent Calculation, available in both English and Spanish.

Topics: EID, rent calculation, Trainers and Consultants, Knowledge Base

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