Understanding Disclosure Restrictions of EIV Data
The Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system was developed by HUD to verify income and employment information for applicants and tenants in all of the agency’s assisted housing programs. Information in EIV is derived from computer matching programs initiated by HUD with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for all tenants with valid personal identifying information [name, date of birth (DOB), and Social Security number (SSN)] reported on the form HUD-50059.
Primarily, the information in the system is used to confirm an applicant or resident’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number with the Social Security Administration; verify reported income sources and amounts; confirm participation in just one HUD rental assistance program; and confirm whether or not an applicant or tenant owes an outstanding debt to any public housing authority. The information in EIV is also used by HUD, HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), and auditors to ensure that residents and owners comply with HUD rules.
Owners are required to use the EIV system as a third-party source to verify tenant employment and income information during mandatory recertifications of family composition and income and administrative guidance issued by HUD, and to reduce administrative and subsidy payment errors in accordance with HUD administrative guidance. Overall, the purpose of EIV is to identify and prevent fraud within HUD rental assistance programs, so that limited taxpayers’ dollars can assist as many eligible families as possible.
Due to the sensitive nature of the information found in the EIV system, HUD places great emphasis on the security of EIV data and the need to keep a resident or applicant’s information confidential. The Federal Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of an individual’s information to another person without the written consent of that individual.
As such, the EIV data of an adult household member may not be shared (or a copy provided or displayed) with another adult household member or to a person assisting the tenant with the recertification process, unless the individual has provided written consent to disclose such information. The owner, however, is not prohibited from discussing with the head of household and showing the head of household how the household’s income and rent were determined based on the total income reported and verified.
We’ll go over specific procedures when disclosing a person’s EIV data to another individual or entity and give you a Model Form: Tenant Consent to Disclose EIV Income Information, that you can use to obtain consent to disclose EIV information to another person or entity. It’s important that all disclosure requirements are followed because the penalties can be severe. If an unauthorized disclosure is committed, HUD has stated that felony conviction, a fine up to $5,000, or imprisonment up to five years, as well as civil damages may be assessed [HUD Handbook 4350.3, par. 9-17(D)(1)].
Disclosure to Persons Assisting Tenants with the Recertification Process
With the written consent of the tenant, EIV data may be shared with persons assisting the tenant with the recertification process. Tenants who require assistance during the recertification process may have a representative present to assist them in their ability to participate in the recertification process; this includes review and explanation of the written third-party income verifications.
The only EIV information that can be disclosed to these representatives are the EIV income and employment of the tenant who has provided documented consent. These parties must not have access to EIV information for any other household members unless there is documented consent.
The following are the parties to whom the tenant can provide written consent:
- Service coordinators (only if they are present at and assisting the tenant with the recertification process);
- Individuals assisting an elderly individual or a person with a disability;
- Powers of attorney; and
- Other family members.
Disclosure for Official Purpose
According to the HUD Handbook, the information in the EIV system may be used for only limited official purposes, such as when officials need to monitor or audit the EIV information of a resident. Official purposes include:
- Owners, in connection with the administration of Multifamily Housing programs, for verifying the employment and income at the time of recertification and for reducing administrative and subsidy payment errors;
- Contract administrators and HUD staff for monitoring and oversight of the access and mandatory use of the EIV system;
- Independent public accountants (IPAs), when hired by an owner to perform the financial audit of the project, for use in determining the owner’s compliance with verifying income and determining the accuracy of the rent and subsidy calculations. IPAs have additional restrictions such as only accessing EIV information within hard copy files and only within the offices of the owner or managing agent and being required to sign non-disclosure oaths;
- OIG investigators for auditing purposes; and
- Disclosure of EIV information to individuals who are assisting in the recertification process and who are present during the recertification interview and process [HUD Handbook 4350.3, par. 9-17 (C)(1)].
According to HUD, official purposes do not include:
- Sharing EIV information with low-income housing tax auditors or Rural Development/Rural Housing Services (Section 515) auditors;
- Sharing EIV information with service coordinators even if the tenant signs a consent disclosure allowing the service coordinator to have access to the EIV information. The service coordinator can view this information only if he or she is present during the interview and while assisting the tenant with the recertification process.
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|Tenant Consent to Disclose EIV Income Information|