Our Head of Household died. Can we still receive assistance?


In the unfortunate event that the Head of Household has died, housing authorities should already have a policy on how to move forward, whether the household is currently receiving housing assistance, or still on a waiting list. Policy varies by each housing authority, but these are the general results based on our research:

If currently living in an affordable housing unit, and at least one household member is of age and legally able to execute a lease, that person may sign a new lease to update the family composition.

If currently on a waiting list, and at least one household member is of age and legally able to execute a lease, that person may become the new head of household.

A housing authority may also allow an adult who was not previously on the lease to become the new Head of Household. This usually occurs when the only remaining members of the household are minors, and is a complex policy.

If children are the only remaining household members, HUD suggests the housing authority should allow a temporary guardian to reside in the unit until the courts appoint a permanent guardian. Furthermore, the housing authority may add the new guardian as the new head of household.

In this event, the housing authority will require proof of death.

As we said earlier, this is a complex subject housing authority policy that varies by each office. Just because a housing authority "may" adopt a specific policy, it does not mean it is required to do so. Please contact the housing office that manages your unit for more information about its specific policy.

More Housing Policy, Landlords, and Tenants FAQs from Low Income Households

  • How many bedrooms am I eligible for?
  • How much would my rent be?
  • Can I be evicted if my HUD apartment is sold?
  • How Much Are Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Worth
  • What should a landlord expect when renting to a Section 8 voucher holder?