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  • Writer's pictureMartin Flax

Special Needs Transition to Adulthood - An Important but Often Overlooked Step

Applying for a Section 8 Housing Subsidy

In Massachusetts, families often consider applying for guardianship and for Supplemental Security Income(SSI) for their special needs child who is turning

eighteen years old. Many do not realize that they should also be placing their adult child on the Section 8 Waiting List.

In Massachusetts the Section 8 Waiting List can take between eight and ten years. When your adult child makes it to the top of the list, they will receive a benefit that can last a lifetime and can be a subsidy used for housing costs in a group home, a shared living arrangement or rented living space. The benefit can be used anywhere in the country.

What is a Section 8 Subsidy?

A section 8 subsidy is a rental subsidy that pays a percentage of your rent to a landlord based on your income. It allows you to enter into a lease with your landlord and pay only a portion of the rent based on your income while providing a monthly subsidy from the government to your landlord for the remainder of the monthly rent. You must continue to demonstrate your eligibility for the Section 8 subsidy and as long as you remain eligible, the subsidy will continue to be provided.

Why is Section 8 a Desirable Benefit?

The subsidized person’s unit in a Department of Developmental Services’ group home may qualify toward the Subsidized Housing Inventory that must be reported by the city or town to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as required under Mass. G.L. c. 40B. The cities and towns under Mass. G.L. c. 40B are seeking to increase the affordable housing percentages in their community. Therefore, the Section 8 subsidy that your adult child will receive in eight to ten years will not only make them more financially secure in their housing situation, but will also make them a more desirable tenant for a private landlord or group home. The city or town may also benefit by increasing the number of affordable units in the city or town.

Where to apply:


Once You Are on a Waiting List - MassLegalHelp

If you would like a free initial consultation to discuss legal planning for your special needs child, please contact the Law Offices of Martin I. Flax, P.C. at

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