Work Incentives

Affordable Housing Work Incentives

Earned Income Disregard (EID)

Many people with disabilities participate in housing programs that can make renting an apartment or purchasing a home more affordable. These programs include:

If you have a disability and participate in one of these affordable housing programs and get a job, you may qualify for the Earned Income Disregard (EID).

The Earned Income Disregard (EID) is earned income that is excluded (not counted) as part of your annual income for rent calculation when you begin earning income or earn additional income. The EID allows your rent to stay the same when you start working. Here’s how it works:

  • For the first 12 months after you start working, income from your job is not counted towards your rent, so the amount you pay in rent stays the same.
  • In the second 12 months, your housing authority will only count half of your total work earnings towards rent.
  • The exclusion period is 24 months in a row. If you don’t work in some of those months and can’t use the exclusion in those months, the months still count as part of the 24 month total. Once the 24 months have passed, applicants cannot get the EID for rent.

Many, but not all, public and subsidized housing programs offer an EID. If you are thinking about getting a job, talk to your housing provider to see if this work incentive is available.

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program helps people with low income have affordable housing. It is funded by the federal government and run by local public housing authorities (PHAs).

A family that gets Section 8 benefits pays 30% of the family income for rent. The Section 8 program pays for the rest of the rent. After a family's income goes up, the amount the family has to contribute to rent also goes up, because 30% of their income is more than it used to be. When the family contributes more for rent, the Section 8 program contributes less. Note: Families that include a person with a disability who works may qualify for the Earned Income Disregard and not have to pay more rent (see below).

Section 8's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program helps families whose income goes up. When the family income goes up and the Section 8 program starts paying less for rent, the Section 8 program takes the money that it saves on rent and sets it aside for the family. The family can use these savings for purchases, such as the down payment on a home or a car.

Learn more about the FSS. Find public housing authorities near you.


Clyde and Bertha live with their two children and have $500 in monthly income. Due to their low income, they qualify for the Section 8 program. With Section 8, they pay just $150/month in rent (30% of $500), even though their apartment costs $1,000/month. Section 8 pays the remaining $850/month.

Bertha starts doing some childcare work and the family income goes up to $1,000 each month. Now, they have to pay $300/month as rent (30% of $1,000), while Section 8 pays the remaining $700/month for the family's apartment, $150 less per month than the program used to pay.

Because the family is part of the FSS program, the PHA that administers Clyde and Bertha's Section 8 benefits takes that $150 each month and sets it aside for the family. A year later, there is $1,800, which Bertha can use to make the down payment on a car.

Learn more