The payment standard represents the maximum monthly assistance payment (before deducting the total tenant payment by the family). Payment standards are established by the agency and regulated by HUD.
The payment standard’s function is to assist agencies with their annual budgets by establishing a maximum amount that the agency will contribute towards any rental subsidy. Think of this as a cap in assistance.
The family’s payment standard is determined by the lower of the voucher size or the unit size. For example, if you receive a 2-bedroom voucher and you select a 3-bedroom unit, the payment standard for a 2 bedroom unit would be used to determine your rental subsidy.
Since the family is not restricted to renting a unit with a contract rent amount equal to the agency’s payment standard (it could be more or less), the final calculation of the family’s portion and the housing assistance payment amount cannot be completed until the family has selected a unit.