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HUD Implements FAST Act, Authorizes Triennial Reexams

HUD recently published an “interim final rule” in the Federal Register implementing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which authorizes triennial reexams for some assisted families. As noted in the rule’s summary, similar options for verifying income from fixed sources were included in the streamlining final rule and were implemented in 2016. The rule slightly revises related streamlining options to unify the two rules, and extends certain options to HUD multifamily programs.

The streamlining rule, which has been in effect since April 2016, offered PHAs the option of verifying income from fixed income sources once every three years, applying the reported cost of living adjustments (COLAs) in the intervening years. Under the rule, when at least 90 percent of a family’s income is from fixed income sources, PHAs using streamlined income verification may, but are not required to, adjust the non-fixed income. For families with at least one source of fixed income, but for whom less than 90 percent of the family’s income is from fixed sources, PHAs and owners must verify and adjust non-fixed sources annually.

The notice extends some streamlining options to multifamily programs including project-based rental assistance (PBRA). The options include triennial verification of assets (when total assets do not exceed $5,000) and quarterly payment of utility reimbursements when the quarterly total is $45 or less.

The notice states that HUD is seeking comments on the following specific issues:

The language in this interim final rule proposes a policy on utility reimbursements and asset certification identical to that applying to the HCV and PH programs contained in the March 8, 2016, final rule. Comments on this interim final rule may lead us to reconsider those policies as they apply to the HCV and PH programs, in the interest of aligning policies across HUD programs. Are there program-specific or unintended impacts in the HCV, PH, or MFH programs that should be considered in aligning these policies across programs? Would any difference cause a burden to entities administering these forms of assistance or to the tenants receiving the assistance?

The effective date of the interim final rule is March 18, 2018. Comments are due no later than January 11, 2018.

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