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Your income and the HCV program

When you start the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program’s verification process, you have to submit proof of income. For younger adults, that usually means providing information about your employment. For older adults or veterans, government pensions, social security payments or disability disbursements qualify as income. The money you bring in and your voucher are closely connected – so being clear with the team at Memphis Housing Authority about your income is really important. 

Your income is one factor in determining your monthly payments.

The team at MHA uses information about you and your family to determine how much money you should pay in rent each month. One of our main priorities is making sure that you’re not spending the majority of your income on housing. To do that, we have to know how much you bring in! It can feel strange or too personal to share information about your finances with people, but being honest can help us build a plan that balances your budget and doesn’t leave you burdened with too high of a rent payment.

If you live in a household with more than one adult, you need to share everyone’s income with us. Larger houses that accommodate more people are generally more expensive to rent, so it’s OK if adding another adult's financial information increases your monthly household income. We have different levels of income requirements based on your household size.

When your income changes, we need to know. 

If you change jobs, your pension adjusts, or your income changes for any reason, the team at MHA needs to know. A lot of people are nervous that an increase in income will raise their monthly rent payments significantly. When we determine what you’re responsible for paying in rent as part of the HCV program, we’re looking at the percentage of your income that goes toward housing. So, if you get a raise, we don’t expect all of your pay increase to go toward housing – just the same percent of your pay that you were contributing before. Think of it this way: If you were making $100 a month and 10% was going toward your rent, you’d be paying $10 in rent. If you got a raise to $150 and still paid 10% in rent, your rent payment would go up to $15 – but you’d take home $45 more each month. Ultimately, your raise will still put more money into your family’s budget! 

When times get tight and your monthly income goes down, MHA can help. We don’t want you to miss payments or risk eviction because you lost your job or your pay decreased. Schedule an appointment to talk with our HCV team about your loss of income, and we can help you adjust your payment and make a plan for the future. 

If your income exceeds HCV limits, we can help you get on your feet.

Our goal is to help families find long-term housing stability. Once you have stable housing, you may find that it’s easier to make progress at work. After a promotion or two, and the raises that come with those promotions, you might find that your income exceeds our limits for the HCV program. If this is the case when you go through the recertification process, MHA will notify you and will help you smoothly transition into the private housing market. We know that this transition can be scary, but because you’ve built up your finances and invested in yourself, you’ll be ready to make a move! We’ll be there to help you get settled into a new home that we’re sure you’ll love.