PHAs must reexamine the income and composition of Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) families at least annually. In accordance with policies set in their administrative plans, PHAs may require families to report interim changes in family income or family circumstances as well. A family’s failure to comply with the PHA’s reexamination requirements is grounds for terminating assistance.
PHAs must establish reasonable procedures for conducting reexaminations of participant’s income that allow for proper and timely verification of all information and advance notification to the family of any rent change. The family is required to supply any information requested by the PHA or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled reexamination or interim reexamination of family income and composition and sign the HUD-9886 form, which is the “Authorization for the Release of Information/Privacy Act Notice.”
PHAs are required to conduct an annual reexamination for all HCV families at least once every 12 months. When completing a reexamination, PHAs must obtain and document in the tenant file third-party verification, or document in the tenant file why third-party verification was not available.
The components to be updated and verified are as follows:
Collect an updated HUD-9886 form signed by all adult household members
Verify that the utility allowance is correct based on the lower of voucher size or unit size and using the PHA’s current Utility Allowance Schedule
Verify that the payment standard is correct based on the lower of voucher size or unit size and using the PHA’s current Payment Standard Schedule
If the owner requests an increase in the contract rent, verify that the unit meets all program requirements, including rent reasonableness
Be sure to be familiar with the current utility allowance and payment standards for your PHA and jurisdiction.
PHAs have flexibility in determining when they will complete the Annual Reexamination. The only two HUD requirements concerning the effective date are:
PHAs typically align a family’s annual reexamination effective date with either the anniversary of the family’s HAP contract or the anniversary of their admission to the program. Neither of these methods is required although they are considered best practices for ease of scheduling and reporting.
When a PHA chooses the HAP contract anniversary date as the reexamination date, the reexamination will be effective the first of the anniversary month of the family’s HAP contract for the unit they currently reside in. Because a PHA may not exceed 12 months between annual reexaminations, if the family’s HAP contract is effective after the first of the month, the next reexamination is effective the first of the previous month.
For example, if a HAP contract effective date is October 20, the effective date of the reexamination must be October 1 since reexaminations are always effective on the first of the month and cannot exceed 12 months.
When a PHA chooses to establish reexamination cycles based upon the date of program admission, the family’s annual reexamination will be due the same date every year and is not tied to the anniversary date of the current HAP contract.
There is no requirement that PHAs conduct an in-person interview as a part of the annual reexamination process. Some PHAs choose to complete some or all of their reexaminations via mail, while others ask some or all tenants to appear in person. However, PHAs are required to conduct reexaminations in alternative formats as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities who may be unable to attend a face-to-face interview because of their disability. PHAs may also need to provide other types of reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities throughout the reexamination process.
PHAs are permitted to implement streamlined requirements for verifying and adjusting fixed income sources over a three-year cycle for families with an unadjusted income consisting of 90 percent or more from fixed income sources. For the purposes of streamlined income determinations for fixed income families, HUD defines fixed income to mean periodic payments at reasonably predictable levels from one or more of the following sources:
If PHAs choose to implement this streamlined type of income determination at annual reexamination, they must fully reverify and recalculate the income every 3 years. PHAs must adopt these policies in their administrative plan.
In the initial year of a three-year cycle, PHAs complete an annual income determination consistent with all applicable HUD regulations and guidance. In the second and third year of the three-year cycle, PHAs obtain certification from the family that their fixed income sources have not changed, and that the family’s income is still made of at least 90 percent from fixed income sources. If the family provides that certification in years two and three, the PHA will adjust the family’s fixed income sources by the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that is applicable to that fixed income source instead of fully reverifying and recalculating the income source. PHAs must also provide a reexamination of any non-fixed income sources. PHAs may choose whether to fully verify non-fixed sources of income or adjust non-fixed sources of income by applying an inflation factor, but this policy must be included in the Administrative Plan.
Reexaminations often result in a change in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Tenant Rent, and Total Tenant Payment.
Tenant rent is the greater of:
The total tenant payment (TTP) represents the minimum amount a family must contribute toward rent and utilities regardless of the unit selected. The TTP is calculated using a statutory formula and individual income information.
At the effective date of the reexamination, the PHA is required to make appropriate adjustments in the housing assistance payment and notify the tenant and the owner of any changes in the amount of the HAP and Tenant Rent. The PHA must adopt policies prescribing how to determine the effective date of a change in the housing assistance payment resulting from an interim redetermination. Industry practice typically provides at least 30-day notice of any increase in tenant payment.
All notices must be provided in a manner that is accessible for persons with hearing and vision impairments. PHAs must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary to ensure effective communication, which includes ensuring that information is provided in appropriate accessible formats as needed, such as:
PHAs must also take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency. Notices may need to be translated to ensure access for persons with LEP consistent with HUD’s LEP Guidance.
The Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System is a web-based application, which provides PHAs with identity information, employment, wage, unemployment compensation and social security benefit information for tenants who participate in the Public Housing program. PHAs are required to use the EIV system to verify tenant employment and income information during interim and mandatory reexaminations of family composition and income.