Fraud and Program Abuse
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is seriously concerned about fraud in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. HUD has asked the Housing Authority to inform all families on the program about the consequences of committing fraud and program abuse. Section 1001 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it a criminal offense to make willful, false statements or misrepresentations to any Department or Agency of the United States as to matters within its jurisdiction.
Following these simple rules will help you stay in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and help it to run fairly and honestly. Not following these rules will result in termination of your assistance and could result in referral of the matter for further investigation and penalties may be applied.
At least annually and when changes occur, we will ask for information about your income and who is living in your household. We need to make sure that you are paying the right rent to your landlord and that your house or apartment is the right size for your family. When we ask for this information, be sure to:
- Provide complete and accurate information.
Notify the Housing Authority about all income received by members of your household and income that you expect to receive in the next year. Many people forget income from second jobs, overtime, part-time jobs, income received for child support, tips, etc. Income includes non-cash contributions as well as cash payments received.
- Report all household members.
Provide the Housing Authority with the name of everyone expected to live in your household in the next year. If your family size increases or decreases, you must notify the Housing Authority immediately.
- Pay only your share of the rent.
Your rent payment to your landlord must not be more that the amount stated on your lease that was calculated at the time of our review. If you are now paying (or if your landlord asks for) any money in addition to this payment, please report this to us at once.
- Report all changes in accordance with requirements.
Housing Authority policy requires you to report the following to the housing authority within 30 days from the date it occurs:
- Zero Income Households - If a family completes a zero income survival statement at the time of the annual recertification and later obtains other income, they must report the new income within 10 days from the date it becomes effective and an interim recertification will be conducted.
- Family and Household Composition - the family must inform Columbia Housing of the birth, adoption or court awarded custody of a child within 10 business days; likewise a family must report the departure of a family member or household member.
- Changes in Employment - If a household member is not employed at the time of annual recertification but later obtains a job; or, if a household member obtains an additional job, the family must report the new or additional employment within 14 days from the date of starting work and an interim recertification will be completed. Other changes in employment income such as a different job or an increase in salary at an existing job do not need to be reported and if reported, an interim recertification will not be conducted.
- **Other Changes in Income - No other changes in income are required to be reported and if reported, an interim recertification will not be completed. Other changes in income such as Social Security and Disability will need to be reported and if reported, file will be noted it was received and an interim recertification will not be completed. All changes in income will need to be reported with the annual recertification and 90 Day Zero Income Survival recertification.
You may choose to report a decrease in income and other changes, which would reduce the amount of tenant rent, such as an increase in allowances or deductions. If these changes are reported and it will result in a change in tenant rent, an interim recertification will be completed.
Change in Rent - Changes in rent because of reported changes will take effect as follows:
- If your rent will increase, the change will take effect the first of the second month after the change occurred.
- If your rent will decrease, the change will take effect the first of the month after you have provided the Housing Authority with all documentation needed to process the rent change, if you provided the documents by the 15th of the month. If you did not provide the documents until after the 15th of the month, the rent change will take effect on the first of the second month after you provided the documents.