Monday, November 18, 2019

Housing Authority - Part 3

Probably the Housing Authority should not have intruded on the tenant's privacy by examining his checking account statement. But when an "authority" asks for information, often clients of such an authority don't know whether they can refuse to comply without risking loss of a benefit. Was that the case here?

The Housing Authority has the right to ask about amounts and sources of income? The HUD Regulations allow this. The purpose is to make allowed adjustments in benefits, in view of changes in income.

In any event, this particular client has not yet learned to live within the limits of his SSI/SSA benefit and during a month he may need more money. He has avoided PayDay Loans, but he has used pawn shops as a temporary source of funds.

When the Housing Authority's clerk identified such loans, she decided they were income. It must have been an arbitrary conclusion on her part and probably supported, if not guided, by her supervisor. The result was a reduction in monthly assistance of $220.00. 

The way this works is, when the Housing Authority reduces its monthly assistance, then the tenant is required to pay that amount to the apartment complex management as an increase in his share of the monthly rent. Discussing, disputing, challenging such a reduction with the person who made the decision goes nowhere.

There is a appeal process. In this case an appeal was made, and a hearing was scheduled for the end of the first month of the reduction in assistance.

Before you hear about the appeal hearing, consider what you think would be a fair appointment of a hearing officer. Should that hearing officer be independent? Impartial? Unbiased? With knowledge of HUD Regulations and of the specific item being contested?

Come back tomorrow for information on the hearing that was held.

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