Housing Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients in Washington State

Two important programs for ensuring affordable, livable housing for SSI recipients in Washington State are Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Securing stable and affordable housing is a fundamental need for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) recipients in Washington State, often challenged by limited income and high living costs. The state has programs designed to help you overcome barriers to obtaining housing and achieving a secure living environment.

SSI recipients can face several challenges in securing stable housing, which can include:

  • Limited income provided by SSI, which can be insufficient to cover the high costs of rent
  • Scarcity of affordable housing and long waiting lists for subsidized housing
  • Discrimination from landlords reluctant to rent to low-income tenants or those with disabilities
  • Complexities of housing assistance programs and bureaucratic hurdles


Two important programs for ensuring affordable, livable housing for SSI recipients in Washington State are Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Washington State Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

The Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly Section 8) helps low-income families, individuals, seniors, and people with disabilities pay their rent in apartments and houses owned by private and non-profit owners. The Voucher program is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

To qualify for the Voucher program, you must earn 50% or less of the area median income. Households pay approximately 30% percent of their income towards rent and utilities. The Voucher program pays the rest of the rent directly to the landlord. Voucher-holders select their own housing from units offered by private and non-profit landlords. The rent plus utilities for assisted housing must be at or below our Payment Standard. In addition, the housing unit must be inspected by our office and pass our Housing Quality Standards.

To apply for Washington State Section 8 Housing, you must visit your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Here’s a list of all the PHAs in Washington state.

To make your Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher application successful:

  • Make sure you meet eligibility for income and citizenship or eligible immigration status.
  • Gather necessary documents like income proof, birth certificates, and social security cards.
  • Apply through your local PHA, and be prepared for a waiting list.
  • Stay organized and respond to any communication from the PHA

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides energy assistance to households in Washington through a network of community action agencies and local partners. These local organizations help determine your eligibility and how much assistance you might receive. If you qualify, your local LIHEAP agency will send a payment directly to your energy utility on behalf of your household.

In some situations, LIHEAP may also help repair or replace your heating or cooling systems if they are unsafe, dysfunctional, or inoperative. Households that are eligible for LIHEAP may also qualify to have their homes made more energy-efficient through the Weatherization Program.

You could be eligible for LIHEAP if:

  • You reside in Washington
  • Your household has not received a LIHEAP grant during the current program year (October-September)
  • Your household meets the income guidelines for the program.


The income limits are set at 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and may be located on the Eligibility Guidelines (PDF) page. Eligibility has to be determined through your local LIHEAP provider.

To apply for LIHEAP, you must schedule an appointment with the organization that offers services in your area. Click on your county on this map to find out locations for participating organizations, as well as specific instructions for applying.

To make your LIHEAP application successful:

  • Make sure your income level and household size qualify you for the program.
  • Apply through your local Community Action Agency, typically starting in the fall.
  • Provide required documentation like recent utility bills, proof of income, and identification.
  • Apply early since funds are limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Keep track of your application status and respond promptly to any requests for additional information.

Working With Schott Law

If you need help getting affordable, livable housing as an SSI recipient, Schott Law is here for you. Maggie Schott is an SSDI & SSI lawyer serving Washington and Idaho. Contact us now at (509) 328-5789 to start your application.