Eligibility certification in a housing allowance program

by W. Eugene Rizor

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Examines the definitions, rules, and procedures used in the HASE housing allowance programs to: (1) determine eligibility and benefits, (2) elicit information needed to determine eligibility, (3) monitor changes in eligibility over time, and (4) control errors. The HASE system was designed to ensure accurate payments while controlling administrative costs and burden for participants. Key distinguishing characteristics were use of detailed definitions, hard-copy documentation, automated systems, extensive error monitoring, and selective case action based on the probability of eligibility changes or reporting errors. The analysis utilizes unusually comprehensive administrative and cost data encompassing five years of program operations. The analysis concludes that the overall system performed very well compared to other benefit programs. Suggestions for improving individual procedures are made and implications are drawn for a national housing allowance program, other housing assistance programs, and, to a lesser degree, other benefit programs that use means tests.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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