Avoid Unnecessary Delays with Document Checklist for Certification Interviews
HUD requires managers to cover a long list of topics during the certification meetings. At these times, it’s important that households bring certain key documents with them to the certification interview. These are documents containing the information you need to process the initial certification or recertification quickly and submit it to HUD on time.
One good way to make sure the household members brings these documents with them to the interview is to send the household a checklist ahead of time. The checklist should include HUD’s suggested list of documents for households to bring (Exh. 4-1 of HUD Handbook 4350.3), as well as documents spelled out in HUD’s verification rules. By sending the checklist, you’ll increase the chances that households won’t forget to bring important documents. We’ve created a Model Checklist: Required Certification Documents for you to send households when you notify them to come in for a certification or recertification interview. We’ll tell you how to use it and when to send it to households.
How to Use Checklist
Fill out the top part of the checklist before you send it to the household. The checklist explains to households that government regulations require them to submit certain documents and asks them to bring the documents you’ve checked off with them to the interview. It also stresses to households that they risk delaying their housing assistance if they don’t give you the documents and information you need. And it asks them to call you as soon as possible if they don’t have or can’t bring the documents you request.
Before you send the checklist to a household, try to customize it by checking off only those items you think you’ll need from them. For example, if you’re recertifying a household, you won’t need additional documents on members’ names, birth dates, or immigration status (unless you know ahead of time that the household is adding a new member). Or if a household is getting or has asked for, say, a child care allowance, check off that you need the name, address, and phone number of the child care provider and any checks or other records of payment to that provider.
If you aren’t sure whether you’ll need a document to certify or recertify the household (such as school documents to verify full-time student status), check it off anyway and leave it up to the household to tell you that the item doesn’t apply.
Keep a copy of the marked-up checklist you send to the household. It’s your record of the items you need.
Documents to Request
The checklist divides the documents you may need to certify or recertify a household into four categories of certification data (although some documents listed under one category may also be useful for verifying an item in another category). Here’s how the checklist organizes the various documents:
Household composition. The checklist lists the kinds of documents you may need to verify certain aspects of a household’s composition (for eligibility, household size, income, and allowance purposes), such as age, dependent status, Social Security information, marital status, U.S. citizenship, custody arrangements, and military status [Chklst., sec. 1].
Income and assets. The checklist includes a list of the most common documents you may need to get information and verify various types of income and assets [Chklst., sec. 2].
Expense allowance. The checklist spells out which documents you’ll need to determine and verify households’ eligibility for and amount of disability assistance, medical, and child care expenses [Chklst., sec. 3].
Immigration status. To comply with the noncitizen rule, sites must ask all members of an applicant household to sign a declaration stating whether they’re U.S. citizens or noncitizens eligible for housing assistance under HUD’s rules. And you must get appropriate verification of their status. The checklist asks households with any noncitizen members who are claiming eligible status to bring in one of an approved list of documents that you’ll need to verify the member’s eligible noncitizen status [Chklst., sec. 4].
When to Send Checklist
The best time to send a household the checklist depends on whether you need the documents for an initial or annual recertification.
Initial certification. When you notify a household that they’ve reached the top of a waiting list and they must come in for an initial certification to determine move-in eligibility and rent, do so in writing and include the marked-up checklist with your letter, along with any income and asset questionnaires.
Annual recertification. When you send households the 120-, 90-, and 60-day recertification reminder notices HUD requires you to send, include the marked-up checklist with each notice, along with income and asset questionnaires. The required reminder notices already stress to households that they risk losing their assistance if they don’t complete recertification on time, but the checklist reminds them of this as well.
You can’t anticipate every type of document you may need. You may learn things about the household during the certification interview that will require you to ask it to bring in additional documents later. For example, you may learn at the recertification interview that a household has a new member or needs a new type of expense allowance. But the checklist helps you avoid unnecessary delays by making sure you don’t have to chase down the most common types of documents.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Required Certification Documents|