[24 CFR 982.516, 24 CFR 982.551, 24 CFR 5.230, Notice PIH 2010-19]
The PHA must verify all information that is used to establish the family’s eligibility and level of assistance and is required to obtain written authorization from the family in order to collect the information. Applicants and program participants must cooperate with the verification process as a condition of receiving assistance. The PHA must not pass on the cost of verification to the family.
The PHA will follow the verification guidance provided by HUD in PIH Notice 2010-19 and any subsequent guidance issued by HUD. This chapter summarizes those requirements and provides supplementary PHA policies.
Part I describes the general verification process. Part II provides more detailed requirements related to family information , Part III provides information on income and assets, and Part IV covers mandatory deductions.
Verification policies, rules and procedures will be modified as needed to accommodate persons with disabilities. All information obtained through the verification process will be handled in accordance with the records management policies of the PHA.
PART I: GENERAL VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
7-I.A. FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION [24 CFR 982.516 AND 982.551, 24 CFR 5.230]
The family must supply any information that the PHA or HUD determines is necessary to the administration of the program and must consent to PHA verification of that information [24 CFR 982.551].
It is required that all adult applicants and participants sign form HUD-9886, Authorization for Release of Information. The purpose of form HUD-9886 is to facilitate automated data collection and computer matching from specific sources and provides the family's consent only for the specific purposes listed on the form. HUD and the PHA may collect information from State Wage Information Collection Agencies (SWICAs) and current and former employers of adult family members. Only HUD is authorized to collect information directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Adult family members must sign other consent forms as needed to collect information relevant to the family’s eligibility and level of assistance.
Penalties for Failing to Consent [24 CFR 5.232]
If any family member who is required to sign a consent form fails to do so, the PHA will deny admission to applicants and terminate assistance of participants. The family may request an informal review (applicants) or informal hearing (participants) in accordance with PHA procedures.
7-I.B. OVERVIEW OF VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
HUD’s Verification Hierarchy [Notice PIH 2010-19]
HUD mandates the use of the EIV system and offers administrative guidance on the use of other methods to verify family information and specifies the circumstances in which each method will be used. In general HUD requires the PHA to use the most reliable form of verification that is available and to document the reasons when the PHA uses a lesser form of verification.
In order of priority, the forms of verification that BHHC will use are:
Up-front Income Verification (UIV) using HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system
Up-front Income Verification (UIV) using a non HUD system
Written Third-Party Verification (may be provided by applicant or participant)
Written Third-Party Verification Form
Oral Third-party Verification
Each of the verification methods is discussed in subsequent sections below.
Requirements for Acceptable Documents
Any documents used for verification must be the original (not photocopies) and generally must be dated within 60 calendar days of the date they are provided to BHHC. The documents must not be damaged, altered or in any way illegible.
Print-outs from web pages are considered original documents.
The BHHC staff member who views the original document must make a photocopy, annotate the copy with the name of the person who provided the document and the date the original was viewed, and sign the copy.
Any family self-certifications must be made in a format acceptable to BHHC and must be signed in the presence of a BHHC representative or BHHC notary public.
BHHC will accept documents dated up to 6 months before the effective date of the family's reexamination if the document represents the most recent scheduled report from a source. For example, if the holder of a pension annuity provides semi-annual reports, BHHC would accept the most recent report.
The PHA must document in the file how the figures used in income and rent calculations were determined. All verification attempts, information obtained, and decisions reached during the verification process will be recorded in the family’s file in sufficient detail to demonstrate that the PHA has followed all of the verification policies set forth in this plan. The record should be sufficient to enable a staff member or HUD reviewer to understand the process followed and conclusions reached.
BHHC will document, the family file with the following information:
Reported family annual income
Value of assets
Expenses related to deductions from annual income
Other factors influencing adjusted income
When BHHC is unable to obtain third party verification, BHHC will document in the family file the reason that third-party verification was not available and will place a photocopy of the original document(s) in the family file [24CFR 982.516(a)(2); Notice PIH 2010-19]
7-I.C. UP-FRONT INCOME VERIFICATION (UIV)
Up-front income verification (UIV) refers to the PHA’s use of the verification tools available from independent sources that maintain computerized information about earnings and benefits. UIV will be used to the extent that these systems are available to the PHA.
There may be legitimate differences between the information provided by the family and UIV-generated information. If the family disputes the accuracy of UIV data, no adverse action can be taken against a family until BHHC has independently verified the UIV information and the family has been granted an opportunity to contest any adverse findings through the informal review/hearing process of BHHC.
See Chapter 6 for policy related to the use of UIV/EIV to project income.
Upfront Income Verification Using of HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System (Mandatory)
PHAs must use HUD’s EIV system in its entirety as a third-party source to verify tenant employment and income information during mandatory reexamination or recertification of family composition and income in accordance with 24 CFR 5.236 and administrative guidance issued by HUD. The EIV system contains data showing earned income, unemployment benefits, Social Security and SSI benefits for resident/participant families. The following policies apply to the use of HUD’s EIV system.
EIV Income Report
The data shown on income reports is updated quarterly. Data may be between three (3) and six (6) months old at the time reports are generated.
BHHC will obtain income reports for annual reexaminations on a monthly basis. Reports will be generated as part of the regular reexamination process.
Income reports will be compared to family-provided information as part of the annual reexamination process. Income reports may be used in the calculation of annual income, as described in Chapter 6.I.C. Income reports may also be used to meet the regulatory requirement for third party verification, as described above. Policies for resolving discrepancies between income reports and family-provided information will be resolved as described in Chapter 6.I.C. and in this chapter.
Income reports will be used in interim reexaminations to identify any discrepancies between reported income and income shown in the EIV system, as necessary to verify and calculate earned income, unemployment benefits, Social Security and/or SSI benefits. EIV will also be used to verify that families claiming zero income are not receiving income from any of these sources.
Income reports will be retained in participant files with the applicable annual or interim reexamination documents in a sealed envelope.
When BHHC determines through income reports and third party verification that a family has concealed or under-reported income, corrective action will be taken pursuant to the policies in Chapter 14, Program Integrity
EIV Identity Verification
The EIV system verifies resident/participant identities against Social Security Administration (SSA) records. These records are compared to Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) data for a match on social security number, name, and date of birth.
PHAs are required to use EIV’s Identity Verification Report on a monthly basis to improve the availability of income information in EIV [Notice PIH 2012-10]
When identity verification for a resident/participant fails, a message will be displayed within the EIV system and no income information will be displayed.
BHHC will identify participants whose identity verification has failed by reviewing EIV’s Identity Verification Report on a monthly basis.
BHHC will attempt to resolve PIC/SSA discrepancies by obtaining appropriate documentation from the tenant. When BHHC determines that discrepancies exist as a result of PHA errors, such as spelling errors or incorrect birth dates, BHHC will correct the error promptly.
Upfront Income Verification Using Non-HUD Systems
In addition to mandatory use of the EIV system, HUD encourages PHAs to utilize other upfront verification sources.
BHHC will inform all applicants and participants of its use of the following UIV resources during the admission and reexamination process:
HUD’s EIV system (when it is available to BHHC)
BHHC must restrict access to
and safeguard UIV data in accordance with HUD guidance on security procedures,
as issued and made available by HUD.
7-I.D. THIRD-PARTY WRITTEN AND ORAL VERIFICATION
Reasonable Effort and Timing
HUD’s current verification hierarchy defines two types of written third-party verification. The more preferable form, “written third-party verification,” consist of an original document generated by a third-party source, which may be received directly from a third-party source or provided to the PHA by the family. If written third-party verification is not available, the PHA must attempt to obtain a “written third-party verification form.” This is a standardized form used to collect information from a third-party source.
Written Third-Party Verification [Notice PIH 2010-19]
Written third-party verification documents must be original and authentic and may be supplied by the family or received from a third-party source.
Examples of acceptable tenant-provided documents include, but are not limited to: pay stubs, payroll summary reports, employer notice or letters of hire and termination, SSA benefit verification letters, bank statements, child support payment stubs, welfare benefit letters and/or printouts, and unemployment monetary benefit notices.
The PHA is required to obtain, at minimum, two current and consecutive pay stubs for determining annual income from mages.
The PHA may reject documentation provided by the family if the document is not an original, if the document appears to forged, or of the document is altered, mutilated, or illegible.
Third-party documents provided by the family must be dated within sixty (60) days of the BHHC’s request date.
If BHHC determines that third-party documents provided by the family are not acceptable, BHHC will explain the reason to the family and request additional documentation.
As verification of earned income, BHHC will require the family to provide the two most current, consecutive pay stubs.
Written Third-Party Verification Form
When upfront verification is not available and the family is unable to provide written third-party documents, the PHA must request a written third-party verification form. HUD’s position is that this traditional third-party verification method presents administrative burdens and risk which may be reduced through use of family-provided third-party documents.
PHAs may mail, fax, or e-mail third-party written verification form requests to third-party sources.
BHHC will send third-party verification forms directly to the third party.
Third-party verification forms will be sent when third-party verification documents are unavailable or if the provided third party verification is rejected by BHHC.
Oral Third-Party Verification [Notice PIH 2010-19]
For third-party oral verification, PHAs contact sources, identified by UIV techniques or by the family, by telephone or in person.
Oral third-party verification is mandatory if neither form of written third-party verification is available.
Third-party oral verification may be used when requests for written third-party verification forms have not been returned within a reasonable time—e.g., 10 business days.
PHAs should document in the file the date and time of the telephone call or visit, the name of the person contacted, the telephone number, as well as the information confirmed.
In collecting third-party oral verification, BHHC staff will record in the family’s file the name and title of the person contacted, the date and time of the conversation (or attempt), the telephone number used, and the facts provided.
When any source responds verbally to the initial written request for verification BHHC will accept the verbal response as oral verification but will also request that the source complete and return any verification forms that were provided.
When Third-Party Verification is Not Required [Notice PIH 2010-19]
Third-party verification may not be available in all situations. HUD has acknowledged that it may not be cost-effective or reasonable to obtain third-party verification of income, assets, or expenses when these items would have a minimal impact on the family’s total tenant payment.
If the family cannot provide original documents, BHHC will pay the service charge required to obtain third-party verification, unless it is not cost effective in which case a self-certification will be acceptable as the only means of verification. The cost of verification will not be passed on to the family. The cost of postage and envelopes to obtain third-party verification of income, assets, and expenses is not an unreasonable cost [VG, p. 18].
Third-party verification is not required when legal documents are the primary source, such as a birth certificate or other legal documentation of birth.
BHHC will not require third-party verification when the documentation is a legal document.
HUD permits PHAs to accept a self-certification from a family as verification of assets disposed of for less than fair market value [HCV GB, p. 5-28]
BHHC will accept a self-certification from a family as verification of assets disposed of for less than fair market value.
Self-certification, or “tenant declaration,” is used as a last resort when the PHA is unable to obtain third-party verification. When the PHA relies on a tenant declaration for verification of income, assets, or expenses, the family’s file must be documented to explain why third-party verification was not available.
When information cannot be verified by a third party or by review of documents, family members will be required to submit self-certifications attesting to the accuracy of the information they have provided to BHHC.
BHHC may require a family to certify that a family member does not receive a particular type of income or benefit.
The self-certification must be made in a format acceptable to BHHC and must be signed by the family member whose information or status is being verified. All self-certifications must be signed in the presence of a BHHC representative or BHHC notary public.
Part II: Verifying FAMILY INFORMATION
7-II.A. VERIFICATION OF LEGAL IDENTITY
BHHC will require families to furnish verification of legal identity for each household member.
Verification of Legal Identity for Adults
Verification of Legal Identity for Children
Certificate of birth, naturalization papers
Church issued baptismal certificate
Current, valid driver's license or Department of Motor Vehicles identification card
U.S. military discharge (DD 214)
Current U.S. passport
Current Employer identification card
Certificate of birth
Health and Human Services ID
Current School records
If a document submitted by a family is illegible for any reason or otherwise questionable, more than one of these documents may be required.
If none of these documents can be provided and at BHHC’s discretion, a third party who knows the person may attest to the person’s identity. The certification must be provided in a format acceptable to BHHC and be signed in the presence of a BHHC representative or a BHHC notary public.
Legal identity will be verified for all applicants at the time of eligibility determination and in cases where the PHA has reason to doubt the identity of a person representing him or herself to be a participant.
7-II.B. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS [24 CFR 5.216 and Notice PIH 2012-10]
The family must provide documentation of a valid social security number (SSN) for each member of the household, with the exception of individuals who do not contend eligible immigration status. Exemptions also include, existing program participants who were at least 62 years of age as of January 31, 2010, and had not previously disclosed an SSN.
Note that an individual who previously declared to have eligible immigration status may not change his or her declaration for the purpose of avoiding compliance with the SSN disclosure and documentation requirements or penalties associated with noncompliance with these requirements. Nor may the head of household opt to remove a household member from the family composition for this purpose.
The PHA must accept the following documentation as acceptable evidence of the social security number:
An original SSN card issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
An original SSA-issued document, which contains the name and SSN of the individual
An original document issued by a federal, state, or local government agency, which
contains the name and SSN of the individual,
The PHA may only reject documentation of an SSN provided by an applicant or participant if the document is not an original document or, if the original document has been altered, mutilated, illegible, or appears to be forged.
The PHA will explain to the applicant or participant the reasons the document is not acceptable and request that the individual obtain and submit acceptable documentation of the SSN to BHHC within 90 days.
In the case of Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy (SRO) individuals, the required
documentation must be provided within 90 calendar days from the date of admission into the
program. The PHA must grant one additional 90-day extension if it determines that the
applicant’s failure to comply was due to circumstances that were beyond the applicant’s control
and could not have been reasonably foreseen.
BHHC will grant one additional 90-day extension if needed for reasons beyond the
participant’s control such as delayed processing of the SSN application by the SSA,
natural disaster, fire, death in the family, or other emergency. If the individual fails to
comply with SSN disclosure and documentation requirements upon expiration of the
provided time period, BHHC will terminate the individual’s assistance.
When a participant requests to add a new household member who is at least 6 years of age, or who is under the age of 6 and has an SSN, the participant must provide the complete and accurate SSN assigned to each new member at the time of reexamination or recertification, in addition to the documentation required to verify it. The PHA may not add the new household member until such documentation is provided.
When a participant requests to add a new household member who is under the age of 6 and has not been assigned an SSN, the participant must provide the SSN assigned to each new child and the required documentation within 90 calendar days of the child being added to the household. A 90-day extension will be granted if the PHA determines that the participant’s failure to comply was due to unforeseen circumstances and was outside of the participant’s control. During the period the PHA is awaiting documentation of the SSN, the child will be counted as part of the assisted household.
BHHC will grant one additional 90-day extension if needed for reasons beyond the participant’s control such as delayed processing of the SSN application by the SSA, natural disaster, fire, death in the family, or other emergency.
Social security numbers must be verified only once during continuously-assisted occupancy.
BHHC will verify each disclosed SSN by:
Obtaining documentation from applicants and participants that is acceptable as evidence of social security numbers
Making a copy of the original documentation submitted, returning it to the individual, and retaining a copy in the file folder
Once an individual’s status is classified as “verified” in HUD’s EIV system, BHHC may at its discretion remove and destroy copies of documentation accepted as evidence of social security numbers . The retention of the EIV Summary Report or Income Report is adequate documentation of an individual’s SSN.
Once an individual’s status is classified as “verified” in HUD’s EIV system, BHHC will remove and destroy copies of documentation accepted as evidence of social security numbers
7-II.C. DOCUMENTATION OF AGE
A birth certificate or other official record of birth is the preferred form of age verification for all family members. For elderly family members an original document that provides evidence of the receipt of social security retirement benefits is acceptable.
If an official record of birth or evidence of social security retirement benefits cannot be provided, BHHC will require the family to submit other documents that support the reported age of the family member (e.g., school records, driver's license if birth year is recorded) and to provide a self-certification.
Age must be verified only once during continuously-assisted occupancy.
7-II.D. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Applicants and program participants are required to identify the relationship of each household member to the head of household. Definitions of the primary household relationships are provided in the Eligibility chapter.
Family relationships are verified only to the extent necessary to determine a family’s eligibility and level of assistance. Certification by the head of household normally is sufficient verification of family relationships.
Certification by the head of household is normally sufficient verification. If BHHC has reasonable doubts about a marital relationship, BHHC will require the family to document the marriage.
A marriage certificate generally is required to verify that a couple is married.
In the case of a common law marriage, the couple must demonstrate that they hold themselves to be married (e.g., by telling the community they are married, calling each other husband and wife, using the same last name, filing joint income tax returns).
Separation or Divorce
Certification by the head of household is normally sufficient verification. If BHHC has reasonable doubts about a separation or divorce, BHHC will require the family to provide documentation of the divorce, or separation.
A certified copy of a divorce decree, signed by a court officer, is required to document that a couple is divorced.
A copy of a court-ordered maintenance or other court record is required to document a separation.
If no court document is available, documentation from a community-based agency will be accepted.
Absence of Adult Member
If an adult member who was formerly a member of the household is reported to be permanently absent, the family must provide evidence to support that the person is no longer a member of the family (e.g., documentation of another address at which the person resides such as a lease or utility bill).
Foster Children and Foster Adults
Third-party verification from the state or local government agency responsible for the placement of the individual with the family is required.
7-II.E. VERIFICATION OF STUDENT STATUS
BHHC requires families to provide information about the student status of all students who are 18 years of age or older. This information will be verified only if:
The family reports full-time student status for an adult other than the head, spouse, or cohead.
The family reports child care expenses to enable a family member to further his or her education.
The family includes a student enrolled in an institution of higher education.
Restrictions on Assistance to Students Enrolled in Institutions of Higher Education
This section applies only to students who are seeking assistance on their own, separately from their parents. It does not apply to students residing with parents who are seeking or receiving HCV assistance.
In accordance with the verification hierarchy described in Section 7-1.B, BHHC will determine whether the student is exempt from the restrictions in 24 CFR 5.612 by verifying any one of the following exemption criteria:
The student is enrolled at an educational institution that does not meet the definition of institution of higher education in the Higher Education Act of 1965 (see Section Exhibit 3-2).
The student is at least 24 years old.
The student is a veteran, as defined in Section 3-II.E.
The student is married.
The student has at least one dependent child, as defined in Section 3-II.E.
The student is a person with disabilities as defined in Section 3-IIE, and was receiving assistance prior to November 30, 2005.
If BHHC cannot verify at least one of these exemption criteria, BHHC will conclude that the student is subject to the restrictions on assistance at 24 CFR 5.612. In addition to verifying the student’s income eligibility, BHHC will then proceed to verify either the student’s parents’ income eligibility (see Section 7-III.J) or the student’s independence from his/her parents (see next section).
BHHC will verify a student’s independence from his/her parents to determine that the student’s parents’ income is not relevant for determining the student’s eligibility by doing all of the following:
Either reviewing and verifying previous address information to determine whether the student has established a household separate from his/her parents for at least one year or reviewing and verifying documentation relevant to determining whether the student meets the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of independent student (see Section 3-II.E)
Reviewing prior year income tax returns to verify whether a parent has claimed the student as a dependent
Requesting and obtaining written certification directly from the student’s parents identifying the amount of support they will be providing to the student, even if the amount of support is $0.
7-II.F. DOCUMENTATION OF DISABILITY
The PHA must verify the existence of a disability in order to allow certain income disallowances and deductions from income. The PHA is not permitted to inquire about the nature or extent of a person’s disability [24 CFR 100.202(c)]. The PHA may not inquire about a person’s diagnosis or details of treatment for a disability or medical condition. If the PHA receives a verification document that provides such information, the PHA will not place this information in the tenant file. Under no circumstances will the PHA request a participant’s medical record(s). For more information on health care privacy laws, see the:
Department of Health and Human Services’ website at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/.
The above cited regulation does not prohibit the following inquiries, provided these inquiries are made of all applicants, whether or not they are persons with disabilities [VG, p. 24]:
· Inquiry into an applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of ownership or tenancy
· Inquiry to determine whether an applicant is qualified for a dwelling available only to persons with disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability
· Inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling is qualified for a priority available to persons with disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability
· Inquiring whether an applicant for a dwelling is a current illegal abuser or addict of a controlled substance
· Inquiring whether an applicant has been convicted of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance
Family Members Receiving SSA Disability Benefits
Verification of the receipt of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is sufficient verification of disability for the purpose of qualifying for waiting list preferences (if applicable) or certain income disallowances and deductions [VG, p. 23].
For family members claiming disability who receive disability benefits from the SSA,
BHHC will attempt to obtain information about disability benefits through the HUD
Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system. If documentation from HUD’s EIV System
is not available, BHHC will request a current (dated within the last 60 days) SSA
benefit verification letter from each family member claiming disability status. If the
family is unable to provide the document(s), BHHC will ask the family to request a
benefit verification letter by either calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or by requesting it
from www.ssa.gov. Once the applicant or participant receives the benefit verification
letter they will be required to provide it to BHHC.
Family Members Not Receiving SSA Disability Benefits
Receipt of veteran’s disability benefits, worker’s compensation, or other non-SSA benefits based on the individual’s claimed disability are not sufficient verification that the individual meets HUD’s definition of disability in 24 CFR 5.403.
For family members claiming disability who do not receive disability benefits from the SSA, a knowledgeable professional must provide third-party verification that the family member meets the HUD definition of disability. See the Eligibility chapter for the HUD definition of disability. The knowledgeable professional will verify whether the family member does or does not meet the HUD definition.
7-II.G. CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS [24 CFR 5.508]
Housing assistance is not available to persons who are not citizens, nationals, or eligible immigrants. Prorated assistance is provided for "mixed families" containing both eligible and ineligible persons. A detailed discussion of eligibility requirements is in the Eligibility chapter. This verifications chapter discusses HUD and PHA verification requirements related to citizenship status.
The family must provide a certification that identifies each family member as a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, an eligible noncitizen or an ineligible noncitizen and submit the documents discussed below for each family member. Once eligibility to receive assistance has been verified for an individual it need not be collected or verified again during continuously-assisted occupancy. [24 CFR 5.508(g)(5)]
U.S. Citizens and Nationals
HUD requires a declaration for each family member who claims to be a U.S. citizen or national. The declaration must be signed personally by any family member 18 or older and by a guardian for minors.
The PHA may request verification of the declaration by requiring presentation of a birth certificate, United States passport or other appropriate documentation.
Family members who claim U.S. citizenship or national status will not be required to provide additional documentation unless BHHC receives information indicating that an individual’s declaration may not be accurate.
All family members claiming eligible immigration status must declare their status in the same manner as U.S. citizens and nationals.
The documentation required for eligible noncitizens varies depending upon factors such as the date the person entered the U.S., the conditions under which eligible immigration status has been granted, age, and the date on which the family began receiving HUD-funded assistance. Exhibit 7-1 at the end of this chapter summarizes documents family members must provide.
PHA Verification [HCV GB, pp. 5-3 and 5-7]
For family members age 62 or older who claim to be eligible immigrants, proof of age is required in the manner described in 7-II.C. of this plan. No further verification of eligible immigration status is required.
For family members under the age of 62 who claim to be eligible immigrants, the PHA must verify immigration status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The PHA will follow all USCIS protocols for verification of eligible immigration status.
7-II.H. VERIFICATION OF PREFERENCE STATUS
The PHA must verify any preferences claimed by an applicant that determined placement on the waiting list.
BHHC will offer a preference to any family that has been terminated from its HCV program due to insufficient program funding. BHHC will verify this preference using BHHC’s termination records.
BHHC will offer a preference for working families.
BHHC will verify that the family qualifies for the working preference based on the family’s submission of the working member’s most recent paycheck stub indicating that the working member works at least 30 hours per week. The paycheck stub must have been issued to the working member within the last thirty days.
BHHC will seek 3rd party verification from the employer of the head, spouse, co-head or sole member of a family requesting a preference as a working family.
PART III: Verifying Income AND ASSETS
Chapter 6, Part I of this plan describes in detail the types of income that are included and excluded and how assets and income from assets are handled. Any assets and income reported by the family must be verified. This part provides PHA policies that supplement the general verification procedures specified in Part I of this chapter.
7-III.A. EARNED INCOME
Unless tip income is included in a family member’s W-2 by the employer, persons who work in industries where tips are standard will be required to sign a certified estimate of tips received for the prior year and tips anticipated to be received in the coming year.
For wages other than tips, the family must provide originals of the two most current, consecutive pay stubs.
7-III.B. BUSINESS AND SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME
Business owners and self-employed persons will be required to provide:
An audited financial statement for the previous fiscal year if an audit was conducted. If an audit was not conducted, a statement of income and expenses must be submitted and the business owner or self-employed person must certify to its accuracy.
All schedules completed for filing federal and local taxes in the preceding year.
If accelerated depreciation was used on the tax return or financial statement, an accountant's calculation of depreciation expense, computed using straight-line depreciation rules.
BHHC will provide a format for any person who is unable to provide such a statement to record income and expenses for the coming year. The business owner/self-employed person will be required to submit the information requested and to certify to its accuracy at all future reexaminations.
At any reexamination BHHC may request documents that support submitted financial statements such as manifests, appointment books, cash books, or bank statements.
If a family member has been self-employed less than three (3) months, BHHC will accept the family member's certified estimate of income and schedule an interim reexamination in three (3) months. If the family member has been self-employed for three (3) to twelve (12) months BHHC will require the family to provide documentation of income and expenses for this period and use that information to project income.
7-III.C. PERIODIC PAYMENTS AND PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS
Social Security/SSI Benefits
To verify the SS/SSI benefits of applicants, BHHC will request a current (dated within the last 60 days) SSA benefit verification letter from each family member that receives social security benefits. If the family is unable to provide the document(s), BHHC will help the applicant request a benefit verification letter from SSA’s Web site at www.ssa.gov or ask the family to request one by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Once the applicant has received the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to BHHC.
To verify the SS/SSI benefits of participants, BHHC will obtain information about social security/SSI benefits through the HUD EIV System, and confirm with the participant(s) that the current listed benefit amount is correct. If the participant disputes the EIV-reported benefit amount, or if benefit information is not available in HUD
systems, BHHC will request a current SSA benefit verification letter from each family
member that receives social security benefits. If the family is unable to provide the
document(s) BHHC will help the participant request a benefit verification letter from
SSA’s Web site at www.ssa.gov or ask the family to request one by calling
SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Once the participant has received the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to BHHC.
7-III.D. ALIMONY OR CHILD SUPPORT
The methods BHHC will use to verify alimony and child support payments differ depending on whether the family declares that it receives regular payments.
If the family declares that it receives regular payments, verification will be obtained in the following order of priority:
· Copies of the receipts and/or payment stubs for the 60 days prior BHHC request
· Third-party verification form from the state or local child support enforcement agency
· Third-party verification form from the person paying the support
· Family's self-certification of amount received
· Copy of a separation or settlement agreement or a divorce decree stating amount and type of support and payment schedules
If the family declares that it receives irregular or no payments, in addition to the verification process listed above, the family must provide evidence that it has taken all reasonable efforts to collect amounts due. This may include:
A statement from any agency responsible for enforcing payment that shows the family has requested enforcement and is cooperating with all enforcement efforts
If the family has made independent efforts at collection, a written statement from the attorney or other collection entity that has assisted the family in these efforts
Note: Families are not required to undertake independent enforcement action.
7-III.E. ASSETS AND INCOME FROM ASSETS
Assets Disposed of for Less than Fair Market Value
The family must certify whether any assets have been disposed of for less than fair market value in the preceding two years. The PHA needs to verify only those certifications that warrant documentation [HCV GB, p. 5-28].
BHHC will verify the value of assets disposed of only if:
BHHC does not already have a reasonable estimation of its value from previously collected information, or
The amount reported by the family in the certification appears obviously in error.
7-III.F. NET INCOME FROM RENTAL PROPERTY
The family must provide:
A current executed lease for the property that shows the rental amount or certification from the current tenant
A self-certification from the family members engaged in the rental of property providing an estimate of expenses for the coming year and the most recent IRS Form 1040 with Schedule E (Rental Income). If schedule E was not prepared, BHHC will require the family members involved in the rental of property to provide a self-certification of income and expenses for the previous year and may request documentation to support the statement including: tax statements, insurance invoices, bills for reasonable maintenance and utilities, and bank statements or amortization schedules showing monthly interest expense.
7-III.G. RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
BHHC will accept written third-party documents supplied by the family as evidence of the status of retirement accounts.
The type of original documents that will be accepted depends upon the family member’s retirement status.
Before retirement, BHHC will accept an original document from the entity holding the account with a date that shows it is the most recently scheduled statement for the account but in no case earlier than 6 months from the effective date of the examination.
Upon retirement, BHHC will accept an original document from the entity holding the account that reflects any distributions of the account balance, any lump sums taken and any regular payments.
After retirement, BHHC will accept an original document from the entity holding the account dated no earlier than 12 months before that reflects any distributions of the account balance, any lump sums taken and any regular payments.
7-III.H. INCOME FROM EXCLUDED SOURCES
HUD guidance on verification of excluded income draws a distinction between income which is fully excluded and income which is only partially excluded.
For fully excluded income, the PHA is not required to follow the verification hierarchy, document why third-party verification is not available, or report the income on the 50058.
Fully excluded income is defined as income that is entirely excluded from the annual income determination (for example, food stamps, earned income of a minor, or foster care funds)
[Notice PIH 2013-04]
PHAs may accept a family’s signed application or reexamination form as self-certification of fully excluded income. They do not have to require additional documentation. However if there is any doubt that a source of income qualifies for full exclusion, PHAs have the option of requiring additional verification.
For partially excluded income, the PHA is required to follow the verification hierarchy and all applicable regulations, and to report the income on the 50058. Partially excluded income is defined as income where only a certain portion of what is reported by the family qualifies to be excluded and the remainder is included in annual income (for example, the income of an adult full-time student, or income excluded under the earned income disallowance).
A detailed discussion of excluded income is provided in Chapter 6, Part I.
BHHC will accept the family’s self-certification as verification of fully excluded income. BHHC may request additional documentation if necessary to document the income source.
BHHC will verify the source and amount of partially excluded income as described in Part 1 of this chapter.
7-III.I. ZERO ANNUAL INCOME STATUS
BHHC will check EIV sources and/or request information from third-party sources to verify that certain forms of income such as unemployment benefits, TANF, SS, SSI, and earnings for other sources etc., are not being received by families claiming to have zero annual income.
Any participant claiming a Zero Income status will be required to complete a monthly Zero Income Checklist and Worksheet, and a face to face interview. Information reported is subject to Third Party Verification. When a participant indicates that an individual assisted them with their monthly expenses a Notarized Statement will be required from the party that assisted the participant.
7-III.J. STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Any financial assistance, in excess of amounts received for tuition, that a person attending an institution of higher education receives under the Higher Education Act of 1965, from private sources, or from an institution of higher education must be considered income unless the student is over the age of 23 with dependent children or is residing with parents who are seeking or receiving HCV assistance [24 CFR 5.609(b)(9) and FR 4/10/06].
For students over the age of 23 with dependent children or students residing with parents who are seeking or receiving HCV assistance, the full amount of student financial assistance is excluded from annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(6)]. The full amount of student financial assistance is also excluded for students attending schools that do not qualify as institutions of higher education (as defined in Exhibit 3-2). Excluded amounts are verified only if, without verification, the PHA would not be able to determine whether or to what extent the income is to be excluded (see Section 7-III.H).
For a student subject to having a portion of his/her student financial assistance included in annual income in accordance with 24 CFR 5.609(b)(9), BHHC will request written third-party written verification of both the source and the amount. Family provided documents from the educational institution attended by the student as well as documents generated by any other person or entity providing such assistance, as reported by the student.
In addition, BHHC will request written verification from the institution of higher education regarding the student’s tuition amount.
If BHHC is unable to obtain third-party written verification of the requested information, BHHC will pursue other forms of verification following the verification hierarchy in Section 7-I.B.
7-III.K. parental income of students subject to eligibility restrictions
If a student enrolled at an institution of higher education is under the age of 24, is not a veteran, is not married, and does not have a dependent child, and is not a person with disabilities receiving HCV assistance as of November 30, 2005, the income of the student’s parents must be considered when determining income eligibility, unless the student is determined independent from his or her parents in accordance with PHA policy [24 CFR 5.612 and FR 4/10/06, p. 18146].
This provision does not apply to students residing with parents who are seeking or receiving HCV assistance. It is limited to students who are seeking or receiving assistance on their own, separately from their parents.
If BHHC is required to determine the income eligibility of a student’s parents, BHHC will request an income declaration and certification of income from the appropriate parent(s) (as determined in Section 3-II.E). BHHC will send the request directly to the parents, who will be required to certify to their income under penalty of perjury. The parents will be required to submit the information directly to BHHC. The required information must be submitted (postmarked) within 10 business days of the date of BHHC’s request or within any extended timeframe approved by BHHC.
BHHC reserves the right to request and review supporting documentation at any time if it questions the declaration or certification. Supporting documentation may include, but is not limited to, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns, consecutive and original pay stubs, bank statements, pension benefit statements, benefit award letters, and other official and authentic documents from a federal, state, or local agency.
PART IV: Verifying MANDATORY DEDUCTIONS
7-IV.A. DEPENDENT AND ELDERLY/DISABLED HOUSEHOLD DEDUCTIONS
The dependent and elderly/disabled family deductions require only that the PHA verify that the family members identified as dependents or elderly/disabled persons meet the statutory definitions. No further verifications are required.
See Chapter 6 (6-II.B.) for a full discussion of this deduction. The PHA must verify that:
· Any person under the age of 18 for whom the dependent deduction is claimed is not the head, spouse, or cohead of the family and is not a foster child
· Any person age 18 or older for whom the dependent deduction is claimed is not a foster adult or live-in aide, and is a person with a disability or a full time student
Elderly/Disabled Family Deduction
See Eligibility chapter for a definition of elderly and disabled families and Chapter 6 (6-II.C.) for a discussion of the deduction. The PHA must verify that the head, spouse, or cohead is 62 years of age or older or a person with disabilities.
7-IV.B. MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION
Policies related to medical expenses are found in 6-II.D. The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I.
Amount of Expense
· Medical expenses will be verified through:
· Written third-party documents provided by the family, such as pharmacy printouts
· BHHC will make a best effort to determine what expenses from the past are
likely to continue to occur in the future. BHHC will also accept evidence of
monthly payments or total payments that will be due for medical expenses during
the upcoming 12 months.
· Written third-party verification forms, if the family is unable to provide
· If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification as to
costs anticipated to be incurred during the upcoming 12 months.
· Copies of cancelled checks used to make medical expense payments and/or printouts or receipts from the source will be used. In this case BHHC will make a best effort to determine what expenses from the past are likely to continue to occur in the future. BHHC will also accept evidence of monthly payments or total payments that will be due for medical expenses during the upcoming 12 months.
If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification as to costs anticipated to be incurred during the upcoming 12 months
In addition, BHHC must verify that:
· The household is eligible for the deduction.
· The costs to be deducted are qualified medical expenses.
· The expenses are not paid for or reimbursed by any other source.
· Costs incurred in past years are counted only once.
The medical expense deduction is permitted only for households in which the head, spouse, or cohead is at least 62, or a person with disabilities. The PHA must verify that the family meets the definition of an elderly or disabled family provided in the Eligibility chapter and as described in Chapter 7 (7-IV.A.) of this plan.
To be eligible for the medical expenses deduction, the costs must qualify as medical expenses. See Chapter 6 (6-II.D.) for the PHA’s policy on what counts as a medical expense.
To be eligible for the medical expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.
The family will be required to certify that the medical expenses are not paid or reimbursed to the family from any source. If expenses are verified through a third party, the third party must certify that the expenses are not paid or reimbursed from any other source.
Expenses Incurred in Past Years
When anticipated costs are related to on-going payment of medical bills incurred in past years, BHHC will verify:
The anticipated repayment schedule
The amounts paid in the past, and
Whether the amounts to be repaid have been deducted from the family’s annual income in past years
7-IV.C. DISABILITY ASSISTANCE EXPENSES
Policies related to disability assistance expenses are found in 6-II.E. The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I.
Amount of Expense
BHHC will accept written third-party documents provided by the family.
If family provided documents are not available, BHHC will provide a third-party verification form directly to the care provider requesting the needed information.
Expenses for attendant care will be verified through:
· Written third-party documents provided by the family, such as receipts or cancelled checks.
· Third-party verification form signed by the provider, if family-provided
documents are not available.
· If third-party verification is not possible, written family certification as to costs anticipated to be incurred for the upcoming 12 months.
Expenses for auxiliary apparatus will be verified through:
Written third-party documents provided by the family, such as billing statements for purchase of auxiliary apparatus, or other evidence of monthly payments or total payments that will be due for the apparatus during the upcoming 12 months.
Third-party verification form signed by the provider, if family-provided documents are not available.
If third-party verification is not possible, written familt certification of estimated apparatus cost for the upcoming 12 months.
In addition, BHHC must verify that:
· The family member for whom the expense is incurred is a person with disabilities (as described in 7-II.F above).
· The expense permits a family member, or members, to work (as described in 6-II.E.).
· The expense is not reimbursed from another source (as described in 6-II.E.).
Family Member is a Person with Disabilities
To be eligible for the disability assistance expense deduction, the costs must be incurred for attendant care or auxiliary apparatus expense associated with a person with disabilities. The PHA will verify that the expense is incurred for a person with disabilities (See 7-II.F.).
Family Member(s) Permitted to Work
The PHA must verify that the expenses claimed actually enable a family member, or members, (including the person with disabilities) to work.
BHHC will seek third-party verification from a Rehabilitation Agency or knowledgeable medical professional indicating that the person with disabilities requires attendant care or an auxiliary apparatus to be employed, or that the attendant care or auxiliary apparatus enables another family member, or members, to work (See 6-II.E.).
This documentation may be provided by the family.
If third-party and document review verification has been attempted and is either unavailable or proves unsuccessful, the family must certify that the disability assistance expense frees a family member, or members (possibly including the family member receiving the assistance), to work.
To be eligible for the disability expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.
An attendant care provider will be asked to certify that, to the best of the provider’s knowledge, the expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.
The family will be required to certify that attendant care or auxiliary apparatus expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.
7-IV.D. CHILD CARE EXPENSES
Policies related to child care expenses are found in Chapter 6 (6-II.F). The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I of this chapter. In addition, the PHA must verify that:
· The child is eligible for care (12 or younger).
· The costs claimed are not reimbursed.
· The costs enable a family member to work, actively seek work, or further their education.
· The costs are for an allowable type of child care.
· The costs are reasonable.
To be eligible for the child care deduction, the costs must be incurred for the care of a child under the age of 13. The PHA will verify that the child being cared for (including foster children) is under the age of 13 (See 7-II.C.).
To be eligible for the child care deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.
The family (and the child care provider) will be asked to certify that, to the best of the provider’s knowledge, the child care expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.
The family will be required to certify that the child care expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.
Pursuing an Eligible Activity
The PHA must verify that the family member(s) that the family has identified as being enabled to seek work, pursue education, or be gainfully employed, are actually pursuing those activities.
Information to be Gathered
BHHC will verify information about how the schedule for the claimed activity relates to the hours of care provided, the time required for transportation, the time required for study (for students), the relationship of the family member(s) to the child, and any special needs of the child that might help determine which family member is enabled to pursue an eligible activity.
Whenever possible, BHHC will use documentation from a state or local agency that monitors work-related requirements (e.g., welfare or unemployment). In such cases BHHC will request verification from the agency of the member’s job seeking efforts to date and require the family to submit to BHHC any reports provided to the other agency.
In the event third-party verification is not available, BHHC will provide the family with a form on which the family member must record job search efforts. BHHC will review this information at each subsequent reexamination for which this deduction is claimed.
BHHC will request third-party documentation to verify that the person permitted to
further his or her education by the child care is enrolled and provide information about
the timing of classes for which the person is registered. The documentation may be
provided by the family.
BHHC will seek third-party verification of the work schedule of the person who is permitted to work by the child care. In cases in which two or more family members could be permitted to work, the work schedules for all relevant family members may be verified. The documentation may be provided by the family.
Allowable Type of Child Care
The type of care to be provided is determined by the family, but must fall within certain guidelines, as discussed in Chapter 6.
BHHC will verify that the type of child care selected by the family is allowable, as described in Chapter 6 (6-II.F).
BHHC will verify that the fees paid to the child care provider cover only child care costs (e.g., no housekeeping services or personal services) and are paid only for the care of an eligible child (e.g., prorate costs if some of the care is provided for ineligible family members).
BHHC will verify that the child care provider is not an assisted family member. Verification will be made through the head of household’s declaration of family members who are expected to reside in the unit.
Reasonableness of Expenses
Only reasonable child care costs can be deducted.
The actual costs the family incurs will be compared with BHHC’s established standards of reasonableness for the type of care in the locality to ensure that the costs are reasonable.
If the family presents a justification for costs that exceed typical costs in the area, BHHC will request additional documentation, as required, to support a determination that the higher cost is appropriate.
Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system - (not available for income verification of applicants)
Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using non-HUD Systems
Written Third Party Verification
High (Mandatory to supplement EIV-reported income sources and when EIV has no data; Mandatory for non-EIV reported income sources; Mandatory when tenant disputes EIV-reported employment and income information and is unable to provide acceptable documentation to support dispute)
Written Third Party Verification Form
Medium-Low (Mandatory if written third-party verification documents are not available or rejected by the PHA; and when the applicant or tenant is unable to provide acceptable documentation)
Oral Third Party Verification
Low (Mandatory if written third-party verification is not available)
Low (Use as a last resort when unable to obtain any type of third-party verification)
· All noncitizens claiming eligible status must sign a declaration of eligible immigrant status on a form acceptable to the PHA.
· Except for persons 62 or older, all noncitizens must sign a verification consent form
· Additional documents are required based upon the person's status.
· A person 62 years of age or older who claims eligible immigration status also must provide proof of age such as birth certificate, passport, or documents showing receipt of SS old-age benefits.
All other Noncitizens
· Noncitizens that claim eligible immigration status also must present the applicable USCIS document. Acceptable USCIS documents are listed below.
· Form I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card (for permanent resident aliens)
· Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record annotated with one of the following:
· “Admitted as a Refugee Pursuant to Section 207”
· “Section 208” or “Asylum”
· “Section 243(h)” or “Deportation stayed by Attorney General”
· “Paroled Pursuant to Section 221 (d)(5) of the USCIS”
· Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record with no annotation accompanied by:
· A final court decision granting asylum (but only if no appeal is taken);
· A letter from a USCIS asylum officer granting asylum (if application is filed on or after 10/1/90) or from a USCIS district director granting asylum (application filed before 10/1/90);
· A court decision granting withholding of deportation; or
· A letter from an asylum officer granting withholding or deportation (if application filed on or after 10/1/90).
· Form I-688 Temporary Resident Card annotated “Section 245A” or Section 210”.
Form I-688B Employment Authorization Card annotated “Provision of Law 274a. 12(11)” or “Provision of Law 274a.12”.
· A receipt issued by the USCIS indicating that an application for issuance of a replacement document in one of the above listed categories has been made and the applicant’s entitlement to the document has been verified; or
· Other acceptable evidence. If other documents are determined by the USCIS to constitute acceptable evidence of eligible immigration status, they will be announced by notice published in the Federal Register