HUD PIH Issues New and Updated Waivers and Alternative Requirements for Multiple Housing Programs

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2021-14 on May 4 that provides new waivers and alternative requirements for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab), Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) programs. The notice also reinstates and/or revises the waivers and alternative requirements included previously Notice PIH 2020-33 (see Memo, 12/07/2020), carries forward information on previously specified HUD actions, adds new waivers and alternative requirements, and extends the period of availability of most waivers until from June 30 to December 31, 2021.

The waivers and alternative requirements in Notice PIH 2020-33, Notice PIH 2020-05, Notice PIH 2020-13, Notice PIH 2020-20, Notice PIH 2020-22, Notice PIH 2020-33 remain effective as of the date of their publication that established a waiver/alternative requirement. The new waivers/alternative requirements established in Notice PIH 2021-14 are effective immediately. Public Housing Agencies that adopted waivers/alternative requirements established in the notices may continue to operate under those waivers/alternative requirements through the extended availability periods provided in Notice PIH 2021-14.

An appendix includes a list of waivers and alternative requirements extended by Notice 2021-14.

This notice extends the period during which HUD will carry forward scores on record under the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) to all fiscal years ending on or before December 31, 2021.

This notice extends the period during which HUD will carry forward scores on record under the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) to all fiscal years ending on or before December 31, 2021.

Notice PIH 2021-14 establishes two new waivers/alternative requirements pertaining to both Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, one for Housing Choice Vouchers and one for Public Housing. The notice also clarifies the scope of two waivers and alternative requirements under the IHBG/IHBG-CARES program.


Waiver PH and HCV-8, Eligibility Determination: Income Verification (pp. 15-16)

Existing Requirement. PHAs must determine whether an applicant family’s income exceeds the applicable income limit as established by HUD in the jurisdiction where the family wishes to lease a unit. While the verification hierarchy described in Notice PIH 2018-18 applies to income determinations for applicants, EIV generally is not available for verifying the income of applicants.

For the public housing program, it requires PHAs to obtain and document third-party verification, or document in the family’s file why third-party verification was not available, for the family’s reported income, assets, expenses related to annual income deductions, and other factors which would affect the determination of adjusted income or income-based rent. For the HCV program, it requires that the PHA must receive information verifying that an applicant is eligible within the 60-day period before the PHA issues a voucher to the applicant.

Waiver. HUD is waiving the third-party income verification requirements for applicants and, alternatively, will allow PHAs to consider self-certification as the highest form of income verification at admission. Applicants must submit an affidavit attesting to reported income, assets, expenses and other factors which would affect an income eligibility determination. Additionally, applicants may provide third-party documentation which represents the applicant’s income within the 60-day period prior to admission or voucher issuance but is not dated within 60 days of the PHA’s request. For example, an SSI benefit letter that was issued in November 2020 to represent the applicant’s benefit amount for 2021 and provided to the PHA in March 2021 would be an acceptable form of income verification. As a reminder, the PHA may also use the SSI benefit letter as proof of disability. PIH encourages PHAs to incorporate additional procedures to remind families of the obligation to provide true and complete information. The period of availability ends on December 31, 2021.

Waiver PH and HCV-9, Eligibility Determination: Social Security Number and Citizenship Verification (pp. 16-17)

Existing Requirement. Applicants must disclose and document and PHAs must verify the social security numbers (SSN) of each applicant. Applicant documentation may include a valid Social Security Number (SSN) card issued by the Social Security Administration; an original document issued by a federal or state government agency which contains the individual’s name, SSN, and other identifying information; or other evidence of the SSN as prescribed by HUD. Generally, a PHA may not admit an applicant until the required documentation is provided to verify the SSN of each household member.

PHAs also must verify evidence of U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status for noncitizens claiming eligibility for assistance. Each eligible household member must sign a declaration of their status and eligible noncitizens must also provide supporting documentation, which must be submitted by the time of the eligibility determination. Documentation verifying U.S. citizenship may also be requested. Since eligibility for assistance is limited to U.S. citizens and noncitizens who have eligible immigration status, families in which not all members are U.S. citizens or have eligible immigration status are only eligible to receive pro-rated housing assistance based on the percentage of family members who qualify for assistance.

Additionally, PHAs must verify each family member’s date of birth to verify identity and determine age and disability status, if claimed. While these family characteristics impact the income and rent calculation for all applicants, in some cases they 17 are required for eligibility for certain types of programs, including Mainstream and Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) vouchers.

Waiver. HUD is waiving the requirement to obtain and verify SSN documentation and documentation evidencing eligible noncitizen status before admitting applicants to the HCV and Public Housing programs. PHAs may adopt policies to admit applicants who are unable to provide the required SSN or citizenship documentation during the initial eligibility determination.

Alternative Requirement. As an alternative requirement, such individuals must provide the required documentation within 90 days of admission to be eligible for continued assistance, pending verification. If a family member appeals secondary verification of immigration documents, PHAs are reminded that assistance may not be delayed, denied, reduced or terminated on the basis of immigration status pending the completion of the appeal. PHAs may accept self-certification of date of birth and disability status if a higher level of verification is not immediately available. If self-certification is used, the PHA must obtain a higher level of verification within 90 days of admission or verify the information in EIV. PHAs that conduct eligibility determinations under this waiver/alternative requirement will be responsible for addressing any material discrepancies (e.g., erroneous SSNs) that may arise later and must take necessary enforcement actions accordingly. The adoption of this waiver does not authorize any ineligible family to receive assistance under these programs. If a PHA determines that an ineligible family received assistance, the PHA must take steps to terminate that family from the program.


Waiver HCV-8, Project-Based Voucher (PBV) and Enhanced Voucher (EV Provisions on Under-Occupied Units (pp. 30-32)

Existing Requirement. Under the regulation for Project-Based Vouchers, that the PBV contract unit leased to each family must be appropriate for the size of the family under the PHA’s subsidy standards. In determining family unit size for a particular family, the PHA may grant an exception to its established subsidy standards, if justified by certain criteria, such as the health of family members. However, the statute provides that a single person must not be provided a PBV-assisted unit of 2 or more bedrooms, unless that person qualifies under specific exceptions provided by the statute 31 (such as an elderly or disabled person). Therefore, such exceptions to a PHA’s subsidy standards cannot be granted for single persons, other than those categories specifically excepted by the statute.

Additionally, the regulation provides that if a PHA determines a family is occupying a wrong-size unit, the PHA must offer the family the opportunity to receive continued housing assistance in another unit and must terminate assistance if the family does not accept the offer or move in a reasonable time (or before the expiration of the family’s tenant-based voucher, as applicable). HUD has established alternative requirements to this PBV requirement in Notice H 2019-9/PIH 2019-23 for Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) PBV units. Specifically, under RAD, a family residing in an under-occupied unit at the time of conversion may remain in the unit until an appropriately sized unit becomes available in the Covered Project. For EVs, Notice PIH 2016-02 provides that an over-housed family that remains in a unit affected by a Housing Conversion Action may remain in the unit until an appropriate size unit becomes available in the project.

Waiver/Alternative Requirement. HUD is waiving the requirements described above so that the PHA may allow a family to initially lease an under-occupied PBV or RAD PBV unit (a unit that has more bedrooms than what the family qualifies for under PHA subsidy standards) under certain circumstances as further described below, and to allow for the continued occupancy of PBV and EV families already under a lease for an under-occupied PBV, RAD PBV, or EV unit. This includes waiver of the statutory provisions concerning single person families, so that the PHA may allow a single person to lease a unit with more than 2 bedrooms under the conditions set forth below. This waiver does not affect other requirements for family eligibility or the PBV program. The specific waivers and alternative requirements are as follows:

  • PHAs may approve a homeless family on the waiting list (or a homeless family referred as part of the HUD-VASH program, if applicable) to initially lease an under-occupied PBV or RAD PBV unit, provided the PHA has no families on the waiting list, after outreach and marketing, that qualify for the PBV or RAD PBV unit.
  • PHAs may allow a family currently occupying an under-occupied PBV unit (or a RAD PBV unit that the family leased after conversion) to remain in the unit until the end of the lease term following the expiration of this waiver, at which time the family will become subject to. This also applies to an eligible family whose current under- occupied unit has been subject to a conversion action6 and placed under a PBV HAP contract, so that the family may continue to lease the same unit under these conditions.
  • PHAs may allow a family that is currently occupying an under-occupied RAD PBV unit or EV unit, and that was occupying the unit at conversion, to remain in the unit until the end of the lease term following the expiration of this waiver, at which time the family will become subject to the relevant requirement (as described in H 2019-09/PIH 2019-23 and PIH 2016-02, as applicable) to move to an appropriately-sized unit in the project when one becomes available.

Any PBV, RAD PBV, or EV family residing in an under-occupied unit on this date in accordance with this waiver may remain in the unit until the end of the family’s lease term following the December 31, 2021 end period of availability end date, at which time the family will be subject to the relevant requirement for under-occupied units.


Waiver PH-5, Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR), superseded by item 12.e.: Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR) Suspension (page 34 – 35)

Waiver. The statute and regulations require that each adult resident of public housing, except for any family member that is exempt, must contribute 8 hours per month of community service or participate in an economic self-sufficiency program or a combination of both. A family’s noncompliance with the service requirement is grounds for non-renewal of the lease at the end of the lease term.

Alternative Requirements. HUD is waiving this requirement and is alternatively suspending the community service and self-sufficiency requirement. If a PHA adopts this waiver, tenants will not be subject to this requirement at the family’s next annual reexamination. Upon the family’s next annual reexamination, PHAs should report on Form HUD-50058 each individual’s CSSR status as either exempt for those that are exempt or 35 pending for those that are otherwise eligible but for which the suspension prevents a housing authority from determining compliance. After a PHA completes an annual reexamination for any family, the CSSR becomes effective again for family members for the subsequent annual reexamination cycle.


13. e, Public Health Services (page 53 – 54)

Existing Requirement. Section 202(3) of Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) authorizes the use of IHBG funds for the provision of housing-related services for affordable housing. Under this eligible activity, IHBG funds can be used to provide services such as housing counseling, activities related to the provision of self-sufficiency and other services related to assisting owners, tenants, contractors, and other entities participating or seeking to participate in the IHBG program.

Waiver. HUD is waiving Section 202(3) and establishing an alternative requirement to the extent necessary to allow IHBG funds to be used to carry out a wide range of public health services under this category of eligible activities. Accordingly, in addition to the housing services normally eligible under Section 202(3), IHBG recipients may be used on a wide range of public health activities designed to allow IHBG-eligible residents and staff of the IHBG recipient to prepare for, prevent, and respond to COVID-19. Eligible uses of IHBG funds under this waiver and alternative requirement include, but are not limited to: providing testing, diagnosis or other related services to residents; establishing a fixed or mobile location to conduct testing and treatment; paying for necessary equipment, supplies, and materials, including personal protective equipment; carrying out public health services designed to help staff, eligible residents, and other third-party providers serving eligible residents, prepare for, prevent, and respond to COVID-19; delivering meals on wheels or other food delivery services to eligible residents that are sheltered-in-place and complying with a stay at home order, or otherwise maintaining recommended social distancing.

Clarification. With respect to vaccinations, eligible uses of IHBG funds under this waiver and alternative requirement include:

  • Paying the transportation costs to get IHBG-assisted families and staff to and from a vaccination site
  • Coordinating with health clinics to provide on-site vaccinations either at a Tribal or TDHE owned or operated location or at a mutually agreed upon location
  • Paying the costs of providing public health information to staff and residents so they can learn about the benefits of getting vaccinated and how to get vaccinated
  • Supporting IHBG-assisted families and staff with online registration for vaccination appointments and keeping them informed as vaccination efforts continue

13.g, Useful life (page 62)

Existing Requirement. Section 205(a)(2) of NAHASDA requires each dwelling unit in a recipient’s housing developed or assisted under the Act will remain affordable, according to binding commitments satisfactory to HUD, for the remaining useful life of the property. The IHBG regulations require each recipient to describe, in its IHP, its determination of the useful life of the assisted housing units in its developments in accordance with the local conditions of the Indian area of the recipient. By approving the IHP, HUD determines the useful life in accordance with Section 205(a)(2).

Waiver. HUD is waiving these for assistance related to cleanup of COVID-19 contamination or temporary use of dwellings units used to quarantine families to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Clarification. This waiver only applies during the period that a unit is being temporarily used to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19. Useful life restrictions are required for other housing activities conducted with IHBG-CARES funding. For example, if a unit is acquired for the purpose of quarantining families, no useful life restriction will apply to the unit during this temporary period when the unit is being used for COVID-19-related purposes. However, after the unit is no longer needed to temporarily quarantine families and is no longer needed for other COVID-19 purposes, the recipient must either place useful life restrictions on the property and continue to make it available for NAHASDA eligible families for an affordability period set by the recipient consistent with its IHBG program or dispose of the unit.

HUD strongly encourages PHAs to utilize any and all waivers and alternative requirements as necessary to keep Public Housing and HCV programs operational to the extent practicable. HUD also encourages PHAs to utilize waivers and alternative requirements to expand housing assistance opportunities, including to families on waiting lists; providing affordable, safe housing during this time assists in addressing issues like homelessness and overcrowding that contribute to risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notice PIH 2021-14 is at:

A summary chart of the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Waivers and Alternative Requirements can be found at:

More information about Public Housing is on page 4-30 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.

More information about Housing Choice Vouchers is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.

More information about NAHASDA is on page 5-29 of NLIHC’s 2021 Advocates’ Guide.