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BHHC ACOP - Chapter 7

Chapter 7

VERIFICATION

[24 CFR 960.259, 24 CFR 5.230]

INTRODUCTION

The PHA must verify all information that is used to establish the family’s eligibility and level of assistance and is required to obtain the family’s consent to collect the information. Applicants and tenants 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. More detailed requirements related to individual factors are provided in subsequent parts including family information (Part II), income and assets (Part III), and mandatory deductions (Part IV).

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 established by the PHA.

PART I: GENERAL VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

7-I.A. FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION
[24 CFR 960.259, 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 960.259(a)(1)].

Consent Forms

It is required that all adult applicants and tenants 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 the lease of tenants. The family may request a hearing in accordance with the PHA's grievance procedures.


7-I.B. OVERVIEW OF VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

HUD’s Verification Hierarchy

HUD authorizes the PHA to use six 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.

 

BHHC Policy

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 resident)

 

Written Third-Party Verification Form

 

Third-party Oral Verification

 

Self-Certification

 

Each of the verification methods is discussed in subsequent sections below.

 

Requirements for Acceptable Documents

 

BHHC Policy

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.

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, the PHA would accept the most recent report.

Print-outs from web pages are considered original documents.

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.


File Documentation

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 ACOP. The record should be sufficient to enable a staff member or HUD reviewer to understand the process followed and conclusions reached.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will document, in the family file, the following:

Reported family annual income

Value of assets

Expenses related to deductions from annual income

Other factors influencing the adjusted income or income-based rent determination

 

When BHHC is unable to obtain 3rd (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. [24 CFR 960.259(c)(1); 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 until the PHA has independently verified the UIV information and the family has been granted the opportunity to contest any adverse findings through the PHA’s informal review/hearing process. (For more on UIV and income projection, see section 6-I.C.)

Upfront Income Verification Using of HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System (Mandatory)

HUD’s EIV system contains data showing earned income, unemployment benefits, Social Security and SSI benefits for resident families. HUD requires the PHA to use the EIV system in its entirety. 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 Policy

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 resident files with the applicable annual or interim reexamination documents.

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 15, Program Integrity.

 

 

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will inform all applicants and residents of its use of the following UIV resources during the admission and reexamination process:

                               

HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System

EIV Discrepancy Reports

The EIV discrepancy report is a tool for identifying families that may have concealed or underreported income.  Data in the discrepancy reports represents income for past reporting periods and may be between 6 and 30 months old at the time reports are generated.

Families that have not concealed or underreported income may appear on the discrepancy report in some circumstances, such as loss of a job or addition of new family members.

Income discrepancies may be identified through use of the EIV “Income Discrepancy Report” or review of the discrepancy tab for the individual family.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will generate the Income Discrepancy Report at least once every 6 months. 

 

When BHHC determines that a resident appearing on the Income Discrepancy Report has not concealed or underreported income, the resident’s name will be placed on a list of “false positive” reviews.  To avoid multiple reviews in this situation, residents appearing on this list will be eliminated from discrepancy processing until a subsequent interim or annual reexamination has been completed. 

 

BHHC will review the EIV discrepancy tab during processing of annual and interim reexaminations.

 

When it appears that a family may have concealed or underreported income, BHHC will request independent written third-party verification of the income in question.

 

When BHHC determines through file review and independent third-party verification that a family has concealed or underreported income, corrective action will be taken pursuant to the policies in Chapter 15, Program Integrity.

There may be legitimate differences between the information provided by the family and EIV-generated information. No adverse action can be taken against a family until BHHC has independently verified the EIV information and the family has been granted an opportunity to contest any adverse findings through BHHC’s informal review/hearing processes.

 

Definition of Substantial Difference

EIV information is used differently depending upon whether there is a substantial difference between information provided by the family and the EIV information. In "HUD Guidelines for Projecting Annual Income When EIV Data is Available," HUD recommends using $200 per month as the threshold for a substantial difference. BHHC will use the $200 per month as the threshold for a substantial difference.

See Chapter 6 for the PHA’s policies on the definition of substantial difference and the use of EIV to project annual income and for the PHA’s threshold for substantial difference.

 

When No Substantial Difference Exists

If EIV information does not differ substantially from family information, the EIV documentation may serve as third-party written verification.

 

When a Substantial Difference Exists [24 CFR 5.236(b)]

When there is a substantial difference between the information provided by the EIV source and the family, the PHA must request another form of third-party written verification and use any other verification methods (in priority order) to reconcile the difference(s).

 

EIV Identity Verification

 

The EIV system verifies resident 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 fails, a message will be displayed within the EIV system and no income information will be displayed.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will identify residents 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.

 

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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 request pay stubs covering the sixty (60) day period prior to BHHC’s request date. 

 

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.

A written third-party verification form is mandatory when there is an unreported source of income or a substantial difference in reported income ($2400 annually or more) and there is no UIV or tenant-provided documentation to support the income discrepancy.

PHAs may mail, fax, or e-mail third-party written verification form requests to third-party sources.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

Primary Documents

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 Policy

BHHC will not require third-party verification when the documentation is a legal document. 

 

Imputed Assets

HUD permits PHAs to accept a self-certification from a family as verification of assets disposed of for less than fair market value.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will accept a self-certification from a family as verification of assets disposed of for less than fair market value.

 

7-I.E. SELF-CERTIFICATION

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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 Policy

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 Vehicle identification card

 

U.S. military discharge (DD 214)

U.S. passport

 

Employer identification card

 

Certificate of birth

 

Adoption papers

 

Custody agreement

 

Health and Human Services ID

 

School records

 

If a document submitted by a family is illegible 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 BHHC notary public.

 

Legal identity will be verified on an as needed basis.


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.

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, if the original document has been altered, mutilated, or is not legible, or if the document appears to be forged.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

When the 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 Policy

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 Policy

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 the individual’s verification status is classified as “verified,” the PHA 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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.  In compliance with Notice PIH 2012-10.

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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 tenants 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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

Marriage

BHHC Policy

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

BHHC Policy

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 document 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

BHHC Policy

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

BHHC Policy

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 Policy

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 claims full-time student status for an adult other than the head, spouse, or cohead, or

The family claims a child care deduction to enable a family member to further his or her education.

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 resident’s medical record(s). For more information on health care privacy laws, see the Department of Health and Human Services’ website at www.os.dhhs.gov.

 

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:

·          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 receipt of SSA benefits or SSI based upon disability is sufficient for verification of disability for the purpose of qualification for waiting list preferences or certain income disallowances and deductions.

 

BHHC Policy

For family members claiming disability who receive SSI or other disability payments from the SSA, BHHC will attempt to obtain information about disability benefits through the HUD Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system when it is available.  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 resident 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, necessary to qualify for waiting list preferences or certain income disallowances and deductions.

 

BHHC Policy

For family members claiming disability who do not receive SSI or other disability payments 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]

Overview

 

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. See the Eligibility chapter for detailed discussion of eligibility requirements. This chapter (7) 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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.


Eligible Immigrants

 

Documents Required

 

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 7-2 at the end of this chapter summarizes documents family members must provide.

 

PHA Verification

 

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 ACOP. 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 U.S. 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.

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC offers a preference for working families, described in Section 4-III.B.

 

BHHC may verify that the family qualifies for the working family 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 may also seek third party verification from the employer of the head, spouse, cohead 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 ACOP 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 Tips

 

BHHC Policy

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.

7-III.B. BUSINESS AND SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME

 

BHHC Policy

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 PIH Notice 2012-10

 

BHHC Policy

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 ask the family to request a benefit verification letter by either calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or by requesting it from www.socialsecurity.gov. 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 residents, BHHC will obtain information about social security/SSI benefits through HUD Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system. 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 ask the family to request a benefit verification letter by either calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or by requesting it from www.socialsecurity.gov. Once the resident has received the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to BHHC.


7-III.D. ALIMONY OR CHILD SUPPORT

 

BHHC Policy

The way BHHC will seek verification for alimony and child support differs depending on whether the family declares that it receives regular payments.

 

If the family declares that it receives regular payments, verification will be sought in the following order.

 

If payments are made through a state or local entity, BHHC will request a record of payments for the past 12 months and request that the entity disclose any known information about the likelihood of future payments.

 

Third-party verification from the person paying the support

 

Copy of a separation or settlement agreement or a divorce decree stating amount and type of support and payment schedules

 

Copy of the latest check and/or payment stubs

Family's self-certification of amount received and of the likelihood of support payments being received in the future, or that support payments are not being received.

 

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

Example 1: An elderly participant reported a $10,000 certificate of deposit at the last annual reexamination and the PHA verified this amount. Now the person reports that she has given this $10,000 to her son. The PHA has a reasonable estimate of the value of the asset; therefore, reverification of the value of the asset is not necessary.

 

Example 2: A family member has disposed of its 1/4 share of real property located in a desirable area and has valued her share at approximately 5,000. Based upon market conditions, this declaration does not seem realistic. Therefore, the PHA will verify the value of this asset.

 

7-III.F. NET INCOME FROM RENTAL PROPERTY

BHHC Policy

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 Policy

BHHC will accept written third-party documents supplied by the family as evidence of the status of retirement accounts.

The type of original document 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

A detailed discussion of excluded income is provided in Chapter 6, Part I.

The PHA must obtain verification for income exclusions only if, without verification, the PHA would not be able to determine whether the income is to be excluded. For example: If a family’s 16 year old has a job at a fast food restaurant, the PHA will confirm that PHA records verify the child’s age but will not send a verification request to the restaurant. However, if a family claims the earned income disallowance for a source of income, both the source and the income must be verified.

BHHC Policy

BHHC will reconcile differences in amounts reported by the third party and the family only when the excluded amount is used to calculate the family’s rent (as is the case with the earned income disallowance). In all other cases, BHHC will report the amount to be excluded as indicated on documents provided by the family.

7-III.I. ZERO ANNUAL INCOME STATUS

BHHC Policy

BHHC will check UIV sources and/or request information from third-party sources to verify that certain forms of income such as unemployment benefits, TANF, SSI, etc. are not being received by families claiming to have zero annual income.


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.

 

Dependent Deduction

See Chapter 6 (6-II.B.) for a full discussion of this deduction. The PHA will 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 the Eligibility chapter for a definition of elderly and disabled families and Chapter 6 (6-II.C.) for a discussion of the deduction. The PHA will 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

 

BHHC Policy

BHHC will provide a third-party verification form directly to the medical provider requesting the needed information.

 

Medical expenses will be verified through:

Third-party verification form signed by the provider, when possible

 

If third-party is not possible, 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.

 

 

Eligible Household

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 will 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.

 

Qualified Expenses

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.

 

Unreimbursed Expenses

To be eligible for the medical expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

BHHC Policy

The family will be required to certify that the medical expenses are not paid or reimbursed to the family from any source.

 

Expenses Incurred in Past Years

BHHC Policy

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

 

Attendant Care

BHHC Policy

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:

Third-party verification form signed by the provider, when possible

If third-party is not possible, copies of cancelled checks used to make attendant care payments and/or receipts from care source

If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification as to costs anticipated to be incurred for the upcoming 12 months

 

Auxiliary Apparatus

BHHC Policy

Expenses for auxiliary apparatus will be verified through:

Third-party verification of anticipated purchase costs of auxiliary apparatus

If third-party is not possible, 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

If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification of estimated apparatus costs 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 Policy

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.).

 

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.

 

Unreimbursed Expenses

 

To be eligible for the disability expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

 

BHHC Policy

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. In addition, the PHA must verify that:

·          The child is eligible for care.

·          The costs claimed are not reimbursed.

·          The costs enable a family member to pursue an eligible activity.

·          The costs are for an allowable type of child care.

·          The costs are reasonable.

 

Eligible Child

 

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.).

 

Unreimbursed Expense

To be eligible for the child care deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

BHHC Policy

 

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.

 

Seeking Work

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.

 

Furthering Education

BHHC will ask that the academic or vocational educational institution 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.

 

Gainful Employment

BHHC will seek verification from the employer 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.


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 Policy

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.

 

BHHC Policy

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verification of Income and Circumstances

 

BHHC utilizes the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system (formally UIV) to validate income information reported by participants.  The EIV system electronically utilizes independent sources, such as those maintained by the Social Security Administration, State Wage Information Collection Agencies, and private vendors, to confirm income figures provided at application and re-certification.  Knowingly underreporting income may result in the assessment of back charges, termination of assistance, and/or prosecution through the District Attorney’s office.

No applicant family shall be admitted to public housing without thorough verification of income, family composition and all other factors pertaining to the applicant’s eligibility, rent, unit size and type, priority rating, etc.  The same types of verifications are required to process any interim or regular re-examination for public housing residents.  Complete and accurate verification documentation shall be maintained for each applicant and resident.  Such documentation may include, but is not limited to, the following:

1.         Letters or other statements from employers and other pertinent sources giving authoritative information concerning all items and amounts of income and deduction, together with other eligibility and preference determinations.

2.         Verification forms supplied by the Authority and returned properly completed by employers, public welfare agencies, etc.

3.         Originals, photocopies, or carbon copies of documents in the applicant’s possession which substantiates his/her statements, or a brief summary of pertinent contents of such documents signed and dated by the staff member who viewed them.

4.         Statements from self-employed persons, and from persons whose earnings are irregular, such as salesmen, etc., sworn to before a Notary, setting forth gross receipts, itemized expenses and net income (expenses incurred for business expansion or amortization of capital indebtedness are to be  included in net income).

5.         Memoranda of verification data obtained by personal interview, home visit, telephone, or other means, with source, date received, name and title of person receiving the information clearly indicated, and a summary of information received.

6.         Certified birth certificates, or other substantial proof of age, to support claims to the various entitlements in these policies for each member of the household.

7.      Verification of evidence of citizenship and/or eligible immigration status or a citizen of the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.  However people in the last category are not entitled to housing assistance in preference to any United States citizen or national resident within Guam.

8.         Social Security Card or legal documents verifying the Social Security number for the applicant and each member of the applicant’s household. 

9.         Proof of disability, or of physical impairment, if necessary to determine the applicant’s eligibility as a family or entitlement consideration under the criteria established in these policies, provided in written form by the appropriate government agency.

10.       Statements from landlords, family social workers, parole officers, court records, drug treatment centers, clinics, physicians, or police departments, where warranted in individual cases.

11.         Receipts for utility services.

12.       In the case of a homeless family, verification consists of certification, in a form prescribed by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or as developed by the BHHC, of this status from a public or private facility that provides shelter for such individuals, or from the local police department or social services agency.

13.       BHHC shall require the family head, head of household, members 18 years or older, or legally appointed designee to execute a HUD-approved release and consent authorizing any depository or private source of income, or any Federal, State, or local agency to furnish or release to the BHHC and to HUD such information as the BHHC or HUD determines to be necessary.

Because eligibility for Federal housing assistance is not based on a “declaration system” but upon verification of actual income and family circumstances, BHHC is not limited to verification of data supplied by applicants or residents.  Failure of an applicant to cooperate with the BHHC in obtaining verifications will result in the application being declared incomplete and inactive.  A resident who fails to cooperate or to release information may be evicted.  In addition, interim rent reductions will not be made for residents until after receipt of all required verifications.  In consideration of the privacy rights of residents and applicants, BHHC shall restrict its requests to those matters of income, family composition and other family circumstances which are related to eligibility, rent, unit size and type, admission priority rating, or other lawful determinations made by the BHHC.  If the verified data as listed in this policy are not more than one hundred and twenty (120) days old at the time an applicant is selected for admission, the data may be considered as reflecting the applicant’s family’s status at the time of admission.

BHHC must restrict access to and safeguard EIV data in accordance with HUD guidance on security procedures, as issued and made available by HUD.


Exhibit 7-1: Excerpt from HUD Verification Guidance Notice (PIH 2010-19 (HA))

 

Level

Verification Technique

Ranking

6

Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system - (not available for income verification of applicants)

Highest  (Mandatory)

5

Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using non-HUD Systems

Highest  (Optional)

4

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)

3

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)

2

Oral Third Party Verification

Low (Mandatory if written third-party verification is not available)

1

Tenant Declaration

Low  (Use as a last resort when unable to obtain any type of third-party verification)





Exhibit 7-2: Summary of Documentation Requirements for Noncitizens

·          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.

Elderly Noncitizens

·          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

Copyright 2008 Benton Harbor Housing Commission 721 Nate Wells sr Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022