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FAQ Friday: EIV Training Requirements

Posted by NMA on Feb 16, 2018 5:00:00 AM

q-and-a-standard.jpgQUESTION     What are the requirements for training on the EIV system for newly-hired staff members? Is it true that they must receive EIV training within one week of their start date? I can’t find a reference for this.

ANSWER     It is not true that new hires must complete training on HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system within one week of employment. However, PHA staff must complete the training prior to accessing the EIV system itself or EIV printed reports.

The current reference is in Notice PIH 2017-12, Administrative Guidance for Effective and Mandated Use of the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System:

EIV System Training Information. As a condition of initial and continued access to the EIV System, HUD and PHA staff are required to complete Annual Security Awareness training and EIV system training (initial system training) and update (interim system changes) training when offered by HUD Headquarters (HHQ). This training requirement also applies to those individuals who will not access EIV, but will view or handle printed and/or electronic EIV data. Individuals who will view and/or handle printed EIV information are required to complete only annual Security Awareness training (EIV system training is optional for these individuals). EIV training provided by third parties (other than HUD Headquarters) does not fulfill the mandatory EIV training requirement.

EIV system users who need to complete EIV training may view EIV training webcasts at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/multimedia

Note: Employees must complete the training prior to accessing the EIV system and/or printed EIV reports.

It should be noted that this guidance differs from that in the previous notice, PIH 2010-19. The older notice required EIV training to be completed by set dates depending on date of hire. It’s also important that two types of EIV training are required: initial system training and annual security training.

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: EIV, PIH Alert, Q&A, Knowledge Base

FAQ Friday: FAST Act Options

Posted by NMA on Feb 2, 2018 5:00:00 AM

q-and-a-standard.jpgQUESTION     We are confused about the rule that HUD published last month implementing the FAST Act. I thought that the law authorized triennial reexams but the rule doesn’t reflect that. Even in the years between “full” reexams it sounds like the PHA still has to apply a COLA to fixed income, adjust payment standards/utility allowances, etc. How does this compare to the streamlining final rule that was published a couple of years ago?

ANSWER     You’re correct that the FAST Actinterim final rule,” published in the Federal Register on December 12, does not authorize PHAs to completely bypass annual reexaminations for three years. Rather, it permits PHAs to conduct “full income recertifications” every three years for qualifying families. Other annual activities must still be conducted every year.

You’re also correct that the FAST Act partially duplicates an option available under the streamlining final rule, published in March 2016. HUD chose to implement the two rules separately, as explained in the streamlining rule:

HUD recognizes that prior to the issuance of this final rule, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, was signed into law. Section 78001 of that Act modified the 1937 Act to allow PHAs and owners to undergo full income recertification for families with 90 percent or more of their income from fixed-income sources every three years instead of annually. HUD believes that while the FAST Act provisions and the provisions contained in this rule are very similar, they offer different benefits; therefore, HUD is retaining the flexibilities in this final rule and will issue implementation regulations for the FAST Act separately.

Let’s take a look at the options for streamlining annual reexams in both rules. Under the streamlining final rule:

  • PHAs may choose to verify income from fixed income sources at admission and once every three years thereafter
  • A published cost of living adjustment (COLA) must be applied to the family’s fixed income in years two and three
  • All non-fixed income must be verified annually

Under the FAST Act:

  • PHAs may choose to verify income from fixed income sources at admission and once every three years thereafter.
  • A published cost of living adjustment (COLA) must be applied to the family’s fixed income in years two and three.
  • If the family receives at least 90 percent of its income from fixed income sources, the PHA may, but is not required to, verify non-fixed income in years two and three.
  • If less than 90 percent of income is from fixed income sources, non-fixed income must be verified annually.

 

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

HUD Issues Guidance on SAFMR Final Rule

Posted by NMA on Jan 25, 2018 5:00:00 AM

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) recently issued Notice PIH 2018-01 providing guidance on recent changes in fair market rent (FMR), payment standard, and rent reasonable requirements set forth in the Small Area FMR (SAFMR) final rule. As you know, in August of last year HUD exercised its authority to suspend SAFMRs for 23 out of the 24 designated areas that would have gone into effect on October 1, 2017. However, in late December, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia entered a preliminary injunction voiding that suspension, meaning that the mandatory use of SAFMRs is now in effect for all 24 areas (listed in Appendix A of the notice). PHAs must now complete the SAFMR implementation as quickly as possible—no later than April 1, 2018. The notice is meant to help with that task, allowing PHAs to better understand their options under the final rule.

  • The notice primarily summarizes the changes and requirements specified in the final rule, with some examples and additional guidance provided for implementation purposes. Highlights include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • he notice provides scenarios that may apply when a new payment standard schedule goes into effect, i.e., specifically when to use the old vs. the new payment standard schedule.
  • HUD recommends that PHAs provide both the old and new payment standard schedules to families issued a voucher whose search term extends beyond the effective date of the new schedule.
  • PHAs adopting an exception payment standard area must revise their briefing materials to make families aware of the exception payment standard and the area it covers.
  • The notice provides policy possibilities that may be adopted if there is a decrease in the payment standard schedule during the term of a family’s HAP contract.
  • Where the PHA chooses to reduce the payment standard for a family under HAP contract, the initial reduction cannot take place before the effective date of the family’s second regular reexam following the effective date of the decrease—meaning PHAs must conduct a reexamination of family income and composition at least annually. This is the case even if the PHAs had implemented a streamlined income determination for fixed-income families.
  • Notice to families is required for any reduction in payment standard, even if choosing to do so gradually. Appendix B of the notice provides tips for strengthening written notices to such families.
  • HUD recommends that any agency required to adopt SAFMRs review the SAFMRs for the fiscal year prior to mandatory adoption to estimate the effect of moving from metropolitan area FMRs (MAFMRs) to SAFMRs, and to use this to inform its policy.
  • The notice provides various considerations PHAs can use to evaluate whether to “opt in” to using SAFMRs. Of course, such agencies must request approval from HUD to voluntary adopt SAFMRs.
  • The notice provides examples of “grouping” by ZIP code areas for agencies adopting SAFMRs, since the percent of the SAFMR that the payment standard equals may vary between different unit sizes and from ZIP code area to ZIP code area, and PHAs have the flexibility to do so.
  • The notice also offers various considerations and recommendations for whether an agency should adopt SAFMRs for its Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program, including examples.
  • The vouchers of families who port will be administered according to the policies of the receiving PHA (RHA)—if the RHA is operating under SAFMRs, the family’s voucher will be administered using SAFMRs. If the RHA is not, the family’s voucher will not.
  • If the use of SAFMRs has been designated for a metropolitan area or the PHA has voluntarily chosen to use SAFMRs, the SAFMRs would apply to all tenant-based vouchers, including special housing vouchers such as single room occupancy (SRO) and the homeownership option.
  • MTW PHAs are exempt from the requirement to use SAFMRs if that agency has an alternative payment standards policy in its HUD-approved Annual MTW plan.
  • With regard to the transition out 50th percentile rents over a three-year period, if the PHA scored the maximum number of points on the SEMAP deconcentration bonus indicator in the prior year or in two of the last three years, then upon expiration of the three-year period, the PHA may request HUD approval of payment standard amounts based on the 50th percentile rent. The request must be made to the local HUD field office during the period between the release of the revised FMRs and the effective date of those FMRs.
  • For PHAs requesting a suspension of the SAFMR designation for the metro area due to an adverse housing market condition, the PHA must administer more than 50 percent of the vouchers leased in that metro area. The notice also defines what constitutes an adverse housing market condition.

In addition to developing this guidance, HUD has also established a set of FAQs specific to SAFMRs, available here. Questions may be sent to SAFMRs@hud.gov.

Does SAFMR implementation sound like a headache for your time-crunched, budget-burdened agency? Let us take on that project for you. We’ll conduct rent burden analyses, analyze vacancy rates, and conduct other required actions to ensure you’re in full compliance with all HUD rules and regulations. Click here to learn more

Topics: FMR, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, Industry News, SAFMR

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 HOTMAquestions@hud.gov.

 

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

HUD Announces SAFMR Implementation Effective January 1

Posted by NMA on Jan 8, 2018 3:30:58 PM

In an email from the Financial Management Center (FMC) on December 29, HUD announced that a federal district court has issued an order setting aside the suspension of the small area FMR (SAFMR) final rule. The rule, which impacts 24 metropolitan areas, was originally scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2018. On August 11 HUD announced that it had suspended mandatory implementation for two years, until January 1, 2020. A complaint filed in October by a Connecticut non-profit corporation resulted in a preliminary injunction setting aside the suspension.

The following is the full text of HUD’s December 29 email:

Dear Executive Director,

On December 23, 2017, a Federal District Court in Washington issued an Order in OCA vs. Carson (https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2017cv2192-29) setting aside the Secretary’s August 23rd suspension of the SAFMR Rule (https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/fmr/fmr2016f/SAFMR-Final-Rule.pdf). Accordingly, this means that the implementation date is January 1, 2018. While HUD understands that some PHAs will be at a serious disadvantage regarding immediate implementation due to the suspension, PHAs must immediately take all steps necessary with respect to dedicating monetary and human resources towards the implementation; as well as integrating the new FMR requirements in any planning the PHA conducts. As expeditiously as possible, HUD will issue guidance addressing implementation issues, technical assistance, and potential obstacles to implementation.

Signed,
Milan Ozdinec

 

PHAs affected by this requirement must put together a new payment schedule that includes individual payment standards for each zip code. Our team of FMR experts is ready to take on that project for you, creating a new, compliant payment schedule without any additional workload for your staff. Click here to learn more

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, Industry News, SAFMR

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