Housing and Work

Earned Income Disregard

In order to help support people going to work, many public and subsidized housing programs have rules that allow tenants who start working to pay the same amount of rent for awhile after they start work. These rules were created for people who are poor or have a disability, to encourage them to look for work.

If you are thinking about getting a job, you may be able to get an Earned Income Disregard (EID) to help you start working without paying more rent.

An EID means that if you start working after being unemployed, the amount you pay in rent will stay the same for a certain amount of time, even though you earn more money.

How Does it Work?

For the first 12 months after you start working, income from your job is not counted towards your rent, so the amount you pay in rent stays the same. In the second 12 months, your housing authority will only count half of your total work earnings towards rent.

For example, if you earn $1,000 each month, in the first 12 months the housing authority can’t count any of this income when calculating your portion of the rent. In the second 12 months, the housing authority can only count $500 of your earnings per month when calculating your rent.

You can qualify for an Earned Income Disregard (EID) if:

You have a disability, and you participate in one of the following housing programs:

  • Public Housing
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program
  • Section 8 Voucher Program
  • Supportive Housing Program
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

In any of these programs, your rent usually increases when your income increases. With the EID, the amount you pay in rent is not increased for the first 12 months after your income increases (due to work). Only 50% of the income increase is counted in calculating rent for the second 12 months. This great work incentive can only be used once during your lifetime, during the 24-month period that begins from the first month of exclusion.

To qualify you must be able to show that you are a person with a disability and any one of the following:
  • Before you got your job, you were unemployed for one or more years; or
  • You earned less than $4,020 over the 12 months prior to getting your job; or
  • You received welfare benefits or participated in a Welfare-to-Work program in the six months before getting your job; or
  • You got your job while you were in a job training or self-sufficiency program.

If you live in public housing, any household member is eligible, regardless of disability, as long as they meet one of the four conditions above.

Note: The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority has different EID rules. If you get your housing assistance from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, click here to contact them about the EID.

Learn more about Earned Income Disregard (EID) on Housing Benefits 101.