Defining Disabilities According to Hud- Every Section 8 Tenant Must Know

As a Section 8 tenant, it is important to understand the definition of disabilities according to HUD. It is important to note that HUD’s definition of disabilities is not limited to physical disabilities and includes mental disabilities and substance abuse disorders.

In this blog, we will explore the definition of disabilities according to HUD and the rights and protections available to Section 8 tenants with disabilities.

Defining Disabilities According to Hud- Every Section 8 Tenant Must Know


Section 8 and How It Provides Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families

Section 8 is a federal housing voucher program that provides low-income families the opportunity to rent quality, affordable housing from private market landlords. Eligible recipients pay a fraction of their income towards rent and receive government-funded assistance for the remainder.

This allows households with limited financial resources to maintain certain minimum living standards, as well as greater economic stability in the long run. Section 8 truly makes a difference by providing individuals with access to affordable housing, allowing them to live secure lives with less stress and anxiety.

Section 8 and How It Provides Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families


How Tenants Qualify for Section 8 Housing

The Section 8 Housing Program provides rental assistance to low-income individuals and families. Those with disabilities may be eligible for certain protections, allowing them to remain in their homes or access affordable apartments.

Furthermore, particular emphasis has been placed on creating an inclusive environment that grants those with disabilities the same rights as able-bodied individuals when it comes to housing opportunities. As such, if you are a tenant with a disability considering applying for Section 8 Housing, it is important to understand the criteria which can help you secure this assistance.

How Tenants Qualify for Section 8 Housing


1. Household Income

To qualify for Section 8, households must meet specific income requirements. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets these requirements based on the median income in each area.

2. Family Size

HUD also considers family size when determining eligibility for Section 8 housing assistance; larger families may receive a higher monthly benefit.

3. Financial Need

HUD considers the applicant’s financial needs when evaluating Section 8 applications. This means that applicants with lower incomes and larger families have a greater chance of being approved for housing assistance than those with higher incomes and smaller households.

4. Disability Status

Tenants must also meet certain disability guidelines to be eligible for Section 8 housing assistance. HUD recognizes physical, mental, and substance abuse disorders as disabilities that qualify tenants for assistance.


Three-Part Definition of Disabilities Used by HUD

Physical Disabilities

The Mobility Impairment category comprises a range of impairments that limit physical activity such as impairments resulting from amputation, cerebral palsy, musculoskeletal issues, or stroke. Those affected can experience limited mobility in their ability to walk, jog or use public transportation.

Visual Impairment includes both those with complete blindness, and partial sight and those with other visual conditions like color blindness and cataracts. HUD also designates hearing impairments as those who are completely deaf or have difficulty hearing or understanding speech even with hearing aids.

HUD’s definition gives broad access to people with physical disabilities in order to provide support and help them live healthy lives in quality housing.

Physical Disabilities


Mental Disabilities

Mental disabilities are classified as any psychological disorder that may affect an individual’s ability to think or learn, impair the ability to socialize or cause emotional instability. This can range from mild depression to severely debilitating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and could be temporary or permanent in nature.

Many people with disabilities opt to receive assistance with daily tasks by hiring personal care attendants, taking advantage of local transportation systems for accessibility reasons, modifying their environment for improved comfort, and engaging in community support services.

By being aware of the various resources available for people affected by mental disability and understanding the HUD’s definition of disability, we can help promote inclusion and greater acceptance across our communities.

Mental Disabilities


Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance abuse disorders fall under the category of disabilities according to the three-part definition used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A disability is when a person can’t do things like other people because of their body or mind. It might be something they were born with, something that happened to them, or something people think about them.

If someone has an addiction or a problem with drugs, they might be able to get help from HUD. This help is for people who can’t do things like take care of themselves, go to school, do chores around the home, or go out and have fun.

Substance abuse disorders can affect every person differently, thus it is important to evaluate all criteria when determining eligibility for HUD housing benefits.

Substance Abuse Disorders


Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Tenants

Section 8 housing is a government-funded program that provides subsidies to low-income tenants who are unable to afford reliable housing. Reasonable accommodation for disabled tenants who receive Section 8 financial assistance is an integral part of this program. These accommodations make sure that disabled tenants have equal opportunities when it comes to renting an affordable home.

1. Accessible housing units

Section 8 tenants with disabilities may be eligible to receive accessible units, if available. These units are designed to better accommodate the needs of those with physical and mental disabilities.

2. Assistance animals

HUD allows for both service and emotional support animals in Section 8 housing as long as they do not cause a nuisance or damage to the property.

3. Waiver of security deposits

HUD may waive all or part of the security deposit for individuals with disabilities, enabling them to access housing without having to secure such a large sum upfront.

4. Flexible lease terms and modifications

Tenants with disabilities are allowed flexibility when it comes to their lease terms and may be eligible for modifications such as an extension on rent payments or the installation of special equipment.

5. Reasonable accommodations

HUD also provides reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, allowing them to make changes to the unit that are necessary for independent living. These can include accessible showers, wider doorways and more spacious bathrooms.

6. Specialized housing

HUD offers specialized housing for individuals with disabilities, including community residences and supported living arrangements. These programs provide home-like environments with additional support services such as counseling and case management.

7. Accessible parking spaces

Tenants who have mobility impairments may be eligible for accessible parking spaces that are closer to the entrance of their building.

8. Accessible public areas

HUD requires all housing complexes to provide accessible pathways and routes, elevators, ramps, and special lifts for tenants with disabilities.

9. Accessible transportation systems

Tenants with disabilities may be eligible for special transportation services such as Dial-A-Ride or paratransit services to help them get around the city.

10. Emergency preparedness

HUD also requires that emergency plans and safety drills are available for those with disabilities, ensuring that they can access emergency services quickly in the event of an emergency.

Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Tenants


Role of Landlords in Providing Reasonable Accommodations

Landlords have an important responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations when entering into contracts with Section 8 housing tenants. This includes ensuring that rental units meet all relevant building codes and requirements established by the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Additionally, landlords should also provide access to all essential amenities that are necessary for a tenant’s quality of life, such as adequate parking spaces and pet policies. Furthermore, they must accept methods of payment that comply with program regulations.

Ultimately, these measures ensure that landlords and their Section 8 tenants are fully compliant with the rules and regulations of the program.

Role of Landlords in Providing Reasonable Accommodations


Discrimination Against Disabled Tenants and How to Report Them

Discrimination against disabled tenants is a serious issue that should be taken seriously. Tenants facing discrimination should make sure to document instances of unfair treatment and compile any evidence related to the incident.

If landlords violate federal or state laws, in addition to documenting the incident, it is best to file a complaint with relevant housing agencies. Bringing a lawyer on board could also be helpful in ensuring protection against abusive landlords and their discriminatory practices.

Reporting discrimination is an important part of ensuring that such violations do not occur again.

Discrimination Against Disabled Tenants and How to Report Them



The Section 8 Housing Program provides an invaluable resource for those with disabilities by enabling them to access affordable rental options. It is important for all tenants to understand the definition of disabilities according to HUD, as well as the rights and protections available to them under this program.

Furthermore, it is essential for landlords to be aware of their responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and to refrain from any discriminatory practices. All in all, the Section 8 Housing Program is an invaluable resource for those with disabilities who are looking for quality and affordable housing.

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