Housing Assistance For Seniors On Social Security

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: February 27, 2023
Last updated: March 12, 2024

One of the biggest sources of income for most seniors is Social Security. In 2023, at least 90% of older adults aged 65 and above will be recipients of Social Security. Approximately 53,113 senior citizens rely on Social Security payments for 30% of their monthly income. 

Despite the living cost adjustments of Social Security payments to keep up with soaring inflation rates, the majority of seniors find their monthly Social Security checks insufficient to fund their housing expenses and rental fees. As such, the federal government offers various housing assistance for seniors on Social Security. Read the article below to learn more. 

Affordable Housing Assistance For Seniors On Social Security

By 2025, American households will spend more than half their income on housing. On average, a family's monthly rental expenses will take up about 33% of its income, or at least $2,018. On the other hand, seniors relying on Social Security are only provided with monthly checks of $2,572 to $3,502. For seniors on Social Security, housing assistance is crucial to finding affordable and comfortable housing.

Public Housing Programs

Public housing programs were created to ensure that low-income households, senior citizens, veterans, and disabled individuals can access safe and decent housing spaces. Qualified applicants with varying needs and preferences may choose from various living arrangements, including high-rise apartments and single-family houses. There are currently about 1.2 million households residing in public housing.

Eligibility Requirements

The Public Housing Agency (PHA) prioritizes low-income individuals and families. However, you may still apply for public housing programs as long as you meet the requirements below:

  • Gross annual income should be less than the poverty level of the applicant’s current area of residence. Also, 80% of the median income for the immediate metropolitan area you choose to live in is the lower income limit, and 50% is the very low-income level.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant residing in the country;
  • Have a clean housing history and a track record of being good tenants;

Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), formerly known as Section 8, provides housing vouchers to qualified applicants, including low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly. These vouchers may be used in different housing properties in the private market to reduce rental costs significantly. 

This program allows seniors on Social Security to access affordable, safe, and decent housing arrangements. Moreover, elderly applicants have greater flexibility in choosing a unit that fits their needs and medical situations.

Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility of a household or individual to the Housing Choice Voucher Program is decided by your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) based on the following:

  • U.S. Citizenship or appropriate immigrant status;
  • Must either be a low-income family, a person with a disability, or an older adult aged 65 and above;
  • Annual gross household income should not exceed 50% of the median income for the area or city the applicant wishes to reside in. Keep in mind that median income levels may vary depending on the location;
  • Number of family members; and
  • Supporting documents (assets owned, income stubs, and personal information of all family members that will reside in the housing unit)

We recommend submitting your application and all necessary documents for the HCVP immediately, as this program has long waiting lists. 

Section 202 Supportive Housing For The Elderly

The Section 202 Program of the U.S. Department of Housing And Urban Development bridges the gap between senior housing affordability and availability. It supplies the nation’s critical demand for decent and sanitary housing units for the aging population. 

Through Section 202, private funding is provided to corporations and real estate developers to construct affordable single-family homes, apartments, and multifamily houses to accommodate seniors. Similar to the HCVP, private companies are awarded subsidies to build senior housing units nationwide that offer cheaper rents for seniors. 

Section 202 is most favorable for seniors compared to other housing assistance programs as it could accommodate an elderly individual’s medical conditions and physical incapacities. Under this program, supportive and care services are provided, as well as cooking assistance, congregate transportation, and free meals.

Eligibility Requirements

The Section 202 Program of the HUD has an easier application process and lesser requirements, which include the following: 

  • The applicant’s household should fall under the category of “low-income”;
  • One member of the household should be at least 62 years of age by the period of initial occupancy;
  • Must be a current resident of the United States; does not need to be a U.S. citizen.
  • Gross annual income should not exceed 50% of the median income of their area of residence;
  • Must have a clean housing record based on rental history (no eviction, termination records, or outstanding payments from other housing assistance programs). 

Exploring housing assistance options while on Social Security? Your financial aid journey doesn’t stop here! Dive into our detailed guide on additional government programs, including the Senior Assistance Program offering up to $3000 and more. Secure every bit of financial support available to uplift your living conditions in your senior years!

If you want to explore other housing options that fit your budget, read this article from Senior Strong on the best housing for seniors based on income.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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