HUD’s Definition of Family

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Section 8

If you are interested in applying for the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program you will soon discover that the first requirements of eligibility revolve around the word “family.” 

Since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees the program, what you may be wondering is what exactly is, by HUD’s definition, considered a family?

According to HUD, a family is simply one or more individuals who live together. Members of the family do not need to be related by blood, marriage or in any other legal capacity. Family members who are away from the household for a certain period of time may be considered part of the family. Live-in aides are also considered a family member. HUD’s definition of family is broad to help make sure decent and affordable housing is available to every type of family.

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Furthermore, HUD classifies households into three types — family, elderly and disabled. Each household type may have different eligibility requirements, services available, etc. through HUD housing programs, including the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program.


A household is one where the head of the household is not disabled or elderly (over the age of 62). If one or more disabled or elderly individuals live in the home, but are not the head of the household, your household will not be classified as elderly or disabled. However, if, for example, you were to move in with your parents who are over the age of 62 and one of them remained the head of the household, it would be considered elderly by HUD’s definition.


An elderly household is one where a single person, the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household is older than 62. Two or more individuals over 62 who live together are also categorized in this way. An individual over 62 living with a live-in aide is also an elderly household. If one of the individuals in your household are over the age of 62, but do not fit into one of the situations explained above, your household is not classified as elderly. For example, an elderly parent moving in with a child who is the head of household would not make the household elderly.


Similar to an elderly household, one where a single person, the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household is disabled is classified as a disabled household. HUD also classifies a household as disabled if two or more disabled individuals live together or one disabled individual lives with a live-in aide.

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