Does Social Security Disability Offer Housing Assistance?

Social Security doesn’t offer housing assistance, but several other programs can help find affordable housing.
Whitney Vandiver
By Whitney Vandiver 
Edited by Tina Orem

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Social Security does not provide housing assistance, but if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might be eligible for subsidized housing programs that offer discounted rent or help buying a home


Many national and state housing assistance programs are funded and managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This agency’s programs offer financial assistance to individuals and families that have a low income, are at risk of homelessness, are elderly or disabled and are at risk of experiencing abuse, sexual assault or illegal trafficking


Because HUD programs help vulnerable populations, there is some overlap in the requirements to qualify for housing assistance and the requirements to qualify for SSDI or SSI. If you receive SSDI or SSI and need housing assistance, compare the programs in this article to determine which ones would be a good fit for your situation.

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HUD programs

HUD housing is available to qualifying individuals for a discounted rental rate HUD's Public Housing Program. Accessed Sep 25, 2023.
. This allows them to live in areas they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. The government pays housing agencies and landlords who participate in HUD programs a subsidy that covers the rest of HUD recipients’ rent.

  • The HUD program offers assistance to people and families who can prove they have low incomes. 

  • The program also considers applicants’ citizenship or immigration status, age and the presence of a qualifying disability.  

HUD income limits

The income limits for HUD assistance vary by location to account for differences in the cost of living in different metropolitan areas, suburbs of metropolitan areas and rural counties across the country Income Limits. Accessed Sep 25, 2023.

For example, the "very low income" limit for a single applicant in Camp County, Texas is $25,250

. Because that county doesn’t include a metropolitan area, all locations within the county are evaluated at the county level. However, the Houston metro and its suburbs encompass Harris County, Texas, so the city and county have the same "very low income" limit of $32,650. In contrast, the "very low income" limit for a single person in New York City is $49,450.

You can look up the income limits for your area on

Tips for applying for HUD assistance

There are two important things to note.

  1. HUD doesn’t offer online applications. You’ll have to visit a housing agency office to submit your application and supporting documents. You’ll also provide information about your family, financial situation, employment and current housing situation. The housing agency representative will ask for income documentation, such as bank statements, so be prepared to provide these records.

  2. HUD housing assistance programs have selection preferences. These give individuals and families that meet certain criteria the opportunity to use HUD resources before others. Examples of selection preferences include an individual being a veteran or a family with children currently living in a structure that doesn’t provide necessary resources such as heat or working indoor plumbing. Selection preferences vary among HUD locations, so talk with your local housing agency office to learn about any selection preferences that you might qualify for.

Did you know...

The Fair Housing Act and the HUD Equal Access Rule require that everyone has an equal opportunity to apply and be considered for public housing assistance. This includes individuals who identify as LGBTQIA and families with same-sex spouses, domestic partners who are unmarried, and people who are responsible for their nonbiological or nonadopted children.

Housing Choice Vouchers

Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) is a HUD-funded program that provides very low-income families the resources to rent or buy housing

. Most HCVs allow participants to choose where they live and keep their housing assistance when they move. HCV has several types of housing assistance available that support specific types of applicants.

Mainstream Vouchers

To qualify: Must be 18-62 and have a qualifying disability.

Preference for: Applicants who have been, are, or are at risk of becoming homeless or institutionalized due to disability.

Assistance: Discounted rent.

Mainstream vouchers provide housing assistance to adults with disabilities who are at least 18 but younger than 62 Mainstream Vouchers. Accessed Sep 26, 2023.
. Applicants must meet all HCV criteria to qualify for the program.

  • Mainstream vouchers do not have a time limit


  • Individuals can continue to receive funding after turning 62 if they were approved before hitting that age.

  • Although the program is open to anyone needing housing assistance who meets the criteria, public housing agencies often give preference to individuals who have been homeless previously, are currently homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. It also gives preference to people who are transitioning away from institutional care or a risk of becoming institutionalized because of their disabilities.

  • Depending on the public housing agency that is funding them, Mainstream vouchers may be tenant-based or project-based. Tenant-based housing assistance means the funding is provided to the tenant and stays with them no matter where they live as long as the property is approved by the program. Project-based housing is assigned to a property, and anyone who qualifies to live in the property can use the funding


Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV)

To qualify: Must be experiencing a situation in which you need alternative housing to ensure your safety.

Preference for: Applicants who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, leaving an abusive living situation or a victim of trafficking or sexual assault.

Assistance: Discounted rent.

Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) assist people in certain communities that are at risk of experiencing homelessness Emergency Housing Vouchers. Accessed Sep 25, 2023.
. Examples of situations that might qualify for EHV include:

  • People who currently are or recently were homeless.

  • Those who are leaving relationships involving domestic or dating violence.

  • Victims of stalking, human trafficking and sexual assault.

  • Individuals or families that have a likelihood of having unstable housing in the future.

EHV is available for individuals and families that meet the income limits for the year in which they apply. Families must include at least one person who is a U.S. citizen or is eligible for section 8(o) immigration status. Participants can use EHVs only for rental properties; they cannot purchase homes through the program.

Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH)

To qualify: Must be a homeless veteran.

Preference for: Applicants who are willing to participate in case management (services for transitioning from the military into civilian life).

Assistance: Discounted rent.

The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program provides homeless veterans and their immediate families with housing choice vouchers, medical services and job-related services HUD-VASH Vouchers. Accessed Sep 26, 2023.

  • While not available in all areas, VASH vouchers for rental properties are often available in areas where there is a greater concentration of homeless veterans

  • Applicants must provide proof of income and pass a state sex-offender registration check. 

  • If applicants add family members after being approved for VASH, they will need to be re-evaluated.

Tribal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing

To qualify: Must be a homeless veteran who meets the NAHASDA requirements and is under the local income limit.

Preference for: Applicants who are willing to participate in case management.

Assistance: Discounted rent for 12 months.

Similar to the VASH program, the Tribal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (Tribal VASH) provides qualifying individuals and families with 12 months of rent assistance FAQs for Tribal HUD-VASH - Part 2. Accessed Sep 26, 2023.
. Participants pay 30% or less of their monthly income in rent while enrolled in the program.

Veterans must apply for the program through the VA. This step verifies that the applicant meets the criteria for:

  • Annual income limits for their area.

  • Receiving VA health care.

  • Being classified as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

  • Needing case management services.

The VA refers approved applicants to the appropriate Tribal Designated Housing Entity (TDHE). This office works with the VA to confirm that:

  • They qualify under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996.

  • They qualify for the Tribal VASH program.

  • They and any member of their family are not a registered lifetime sex offender.

Although a veteran will apply with the VA first, tribes work with different VA medical centers. Speak with your appropriate TDHE to find out which medical center to contact for an application.

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Indian Housing Block Grant

To qualify: Varies by tribe.

Preference for: Applicants who are tribal members.

Assistance: Discounted rent.

Some tribes participate in the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), which is a federally funded grant that supports tribes’ efforts to offer affordable housing to tribal residents

. In addition to developing housing on tribal lands, tribes can offer housing assistance to qualifying tribal members and their families.

Eligibility and availability vary among tribes. Applicants should talk with their local tribal office or the Office of Native American Programs to learn which program is right for them, if they qualify and how to apply for housing assistance.

Did you know...

If you’re at risk of having to move into a care facility, Medicare and Medicaid offer health services and financial assistance to qualifying individuals to help them stay in their homes.

Housing Trust Fund

To qualify: Must show "very low" or "extremely low income."

Preference for: Applicants who need to rent property or are first-time homebuyers.

Assistance: Discounted rent and homebuying assistance.

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) provides states with funding to build and maintain rental properties for families that have “very low” or “extremely low” income

. Despite the program being funded outside of HUD with designated money from Congress, the HTF has income requirements similar to HUD programs. Depending on how a state uses its funds, HTF programs can build, restore, operate and maintain rental housing intended for qualifying applicants, as well as support first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs.

Because the HTF program is targeted to help individuals and families with the lowest incomes, applicants must provide documentation to prove financial need

. You can initiate the application process by contacting your state’s housing department.

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