Resident Didn't Report Income and Household Changes
Facts: In 2009 and 2010, a PHA discovered that a Section 8 resident had earned income from sources she hadn’t disclosed and investigated whether she had reported all of her income as required. In 2010, the PHA received a report that an unauthorized person was living with the resident and investigated that allegation. In April 2010, a PHA employee met with the resident to discuss her compliance with program rules. Soon after, the PHA issued a notice to the resident questioning her continued eligibility for the Section 8 program and offering her an informal hearing.
Pursuant to her request, a hearing was held, and on Sept. 2, 2010, the hearing examiner issued a written decision terminating her from the program. She challenged her termination, and a magistrate judge vacated it, finding that the PHA’s notice to her was deficient. Subsequently, a hearing examiner held another hearing, and the examiner again terminated the resident from the Section 8 program, concluding that she had violated the PHA’s rule that participants must report income changes within 15 business days, that she had failed to report several unauthorized household members, and that this amounted to fraud. The resident then asked the court to overturn this decision.
Ruling: A Wisconsin district court declined to overturn the examiner’s decision and granted a judgment without a trial in the PHA’s favor.
Reasoning: The court stated that federal law confers on the PHA the responsibility to develop procedures for conducting interim reexaminations, and the PHA had broad flexibility in exercising this responsibility. Additionally, the PHA’s administrative plan makes clear that the 15-day reporting rule is part of the interim reexamination process and it states that a change in income triggers an interim reexamination. Thus, the resident’s failure to report a change in income within 15 business days of the change violated her obligation to supply information required by the PHA for use in an interim reexamination and was a permissible grounds for terminating her benefits under 24 C.F.R. § 982.552(c)(1)(i).
With regard to the additional household members, the examiner explicitly found that the resident failed to report household composition changes, and the court stated that this alone was a permissible reason to terminate her benefits.
- Coe v. Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, February 2016