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Adjusted Income

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The amount a person pays taxes on after all allowed adjustments are made (deductions and credits).

Adult Foster Care

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Facilities that provide sleeping accommodations and other services to adults with disabilities and others.

Appraisal

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An estimate of value.

Asset Limit

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The maximum amount of assets you're allowed to own while maintaining eligibility for a particular disability benefits program. Most benefits programs do not count everything you own, including the home you live in and one car you own. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as assets. For Medical Assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.

Also called a "resource limit."

Assets

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Things that you own, like a car or a house. You can only own a certain amount in assets and still qualify for many health care and disability benefit programs. The home you live in and the car you drive to work are exempt under most Social Security and state disability benefit programs. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as assets. For Medical Assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.

Also called "resources."

Bankruptcy

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Legal steps that involve a person or business that is unable to repay debts.

Benefits Expert

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A trained professional who can help you understand disability benefit programs and how they are affected by work. Their goal is to help you avoid financial complications while developing a sustainable plan for the future.

Chat with a Hub expert.

Board and Lodge Establishment

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A facility that provides sleeping accommodations and food to adults with disabilities and others.

Closing Costs

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Costs associated with the completion of a sale of real estate. Closing costs are not usually included in the sale price of the property. Some examples of closing costs are applicable taxes, fees for appraisals and recording the deed (the deed is an official document that shows details of a legal agreement, especially about who owns a building or a piece of land).

Credit

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The ability to borrow money based on your history and promise of repayment.

Credit Limit

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The maximum amount of money that a financial institution or other lender will make available to you.

Credit Score

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A number (between 300 and 850) that is based on a person’s credit history, that is used by lenders to measure whether or not a person would be likely to repay debts. People who pay all of their debts on time will have a higher score; people who do not pay their debts on time will have a lower score. It is easier to get loans if you have a high credit score.

Creditor

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A person or institution who has loaned you money and to whom you now owe money.

Down Payment

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The initial payment you make when you buy something on credit.

Down-Payment Assistance Program

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Help offered by some cities and counties that may reduce a homebuyer’s portion of the down payment to as little as 1% of the purchase price. The rules are different for every program, but usually the homebuyer does not need to repay this financial help until the homebuyer sells the home or finishes paying off the original mortgage. In some cases, the homebuyer may not have to repay it at all.

Earned Income Disregard (EID)

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A rule that helps people with disabilities getting housing benefits — like Section 8, public housing, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) — try working.

If you have a disability and get a housing benefit that has an EID rule, you can start working and your new earnings will not be counted by the program during the first year after you start working. That means your rent won’t go up and you won’t lose the benefit because of your work. During the second year after you start working, only 50% of your earnings will be counted.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan

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Loans offered by banks and mortgage lenders that are insured by the federal government. They allow buyers to make much smaller down payments and are typically available for people with lower credit scores.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

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A home mortgage for which equal monthly payments of interest and principal are paid over the life of the loan, usually for a term of 30 years.

Foreclosure

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A situation in which a mortgage lender (or financial institution) takes possession of the property because the borrower has not made payments on interest or principal for a certain period of time. Once the lender takes over the property, it usually sells at a discounted price so as to recover the amount lost on the mortgage loan.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

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A program run through local housing authorities that can give rental help to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HOPWA funds can also give short-term rent, mortgage, and utility payment help.

Housing Support (formerly Group Residential Housing)

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The Housing Support program helps pay room-and-board costs for people with disabilities, and people aged 65 or over, who live in certain settings. Housing Support may also pay for services in some cases. To find out if you qualify for Housing Support, contact your county human services agency.

Income Limit

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The highest income you can have while still qualifying for a particular benefits program.

Interest

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A charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.

Loan Underwriting

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The process of reviewing all information collected in loan paperwork to figure out whether or not the loan is a good risk. The loan is evaluated based on the lender’s guidelines and practical experience.

Mortgage

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A loan for funds used to buy real estate property.

Principal

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The amount that a person borrows. For example, if a person borrows $100,000, the principal amount is $100,000. Interest is calculated over the principal.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

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An additional fee charged to borrowers who have a down payment that is less than 20% of the sale price or appraised value of the home.

Project-Based Housing

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Specific units in privately owned buildings set aside for people who qualify for housing programs that help pay rent.

If you get an apartment from a project-based housing program, you do not get to choose which apartment you will live in. With many project-based programs, you will pay about 30% of your income as rent, and the program will pay the rest.

The Section 8 project-based voucher (PBV) program is a large project-based housing program. Other project-based housing is available through HUD Homeless Programs, Section 202, and Section 811.

Public Housing

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Rental housing for people with low income that is owned and managed by public housing authorities (PHAs). Public housing comes in many sizes and types, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings. Some public housing units are reserved for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Public Housing Authority (PHA)

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A local agency that is in charge of assigning Section 8 housing vouchers, taking care of upkeep of public housing, and making sure that the housing is safe, decent, and affordable. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees and assists PHAs.

Find public housing authorities near you.

Real Estate Rehabilitation Credits

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A tax credit given to persons or corporations for fixing up real estate property, often in lower-income communities.

Realtor

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A person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.

Room and Board

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Housing which includes meals and other household necessities, such as utilities, a bed, linens, and bathroom supplies.

Section 8

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A program that helps people with low income pay for housing. Federally funded and administered by local public housing authorities (PHAs), Section 8 has three main programs:

  • The housing choice voucher program, which helps pay for rent in any privately owned housing that accepts a Section 8 voucher. This is the most common Section 8 program.
  • Project-based Section 8, which also helps pay for rent in privately owned rental housing, but only in specific privately owned buildings.
  • The Section 8 Homeownership Program, which helps buy a home and meet the monthly homeownership expenses.

Self-Sufficiency Account (Housing Support)

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A special account that used to help people who get Housing Support (formerly Group Residential Housing) benefits with a General Assistance (GA) basis of eligibility. They could put up to $500 a month of their earned income into this account, up to a maximum of $2,000. Housing Support did not count this money as earned income or savings.

Important: As of October 1, 2015, people can no longer put money into a Self-Sufficiency Account and have that money be ignored by the Housing Support program. You can call your county worker if you have questions or call the Disability Hub MN at 1-866-333-2466.

Short Sale

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The sale of real estate property for less than the existing loan amount owed for that property.

Tax deduction

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The amount that a person or business can subtract from their taxable income. The more you can deduct, the less you pay. Items which reduce your taxes are referred to as deductable expenses. If you earn $10,000 dollars in a year, and have $2,000 dollars in tax deductions, you only pay taxes on $8,000 ($10,000-$2,000= $8,000).

Waiting List

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A list of names of people who applied for services or benefits or products that are not immediately available.