Qualifying for Emergency Rental Assistance: Have You Recertified?
Emergency Rental Assistance helps people who have been hit by financial hardship caused by COVID 19 and are struggling to pay rent. If you previously applied for help with rent and utilities through the Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA), you can recertify your application to ensure that payments continue.
By recertifying, you’re reactivating your existing application for assistance. But where to start? Here’s everything you need to know about how to recertify, and what you’ll need.
What can recertification help me with?
1. Rent arrears (this will be the priority) and additional 3 months of future rent. The total amount cannot go above the 18-month limit.
2. Utilities – Utilities can be paid under recertification.
How do I recertify?
You can log on to the Pinellas County Online Application Portal to recertify your application. You’ll be notified if you’re eligible 60 days from the date that your initial assistance was marked as paid in the online portal. You’ll receive an email at the 60-day mark, and you’ll need to reply to the email stating that you’d like to receive assistance. If you haven’t received an email or if your email has changed since you first applied, you can always log back into your portal after it has been 60 days from your original payment. Next, an eligibility specialist works on your case.
How will I know if I’m ineligible?
If you’ve already received 18 months of assistance, you won’t be eligible for recertification.
Cases that are not approved are either returned to you for further information or paperwork, or you’ll be notified of ineligibility.
What paperwork will I need to recertify?
For recertification, you’ll need to send in some additional documents. These are:
If you submitted an IRS form 1040 there’s no need to give additional income documents. But if you submitted earning statements, 1099-G or W-2 forms, you’ll need to provide updated information.
If you’ve got an active lease that extends for the time period that assistance is needed, there’s no need to provide more information. But if your lease expires before the last month that you need assistance, your landlord will need to give a renewed lease or a month-to-month lease addendum.
If you’ve moved, you’ll need to submit the new lease. Your landlord needs to complete an application and provide the necessary documents.
3. Updated rent lodger
Your landlord must provide this when you recertify.
A current bill must be provided.
5. Other documents
Finally, if the number of people in your home hasn’t changed since you applied, there’s no need for further paperwork, other than the items mentioned above.
When times are hard, anyone can find themselves falling behind. At PEDP, we’ve seen that eviction can happen quickly, and the devastation can last a long time. If you and your family are struggling, please reach out for help. The team at PEDP is here to guide you.
If you’ve got questions about the process of recertifying for the ERA Program, or if you receive an eviction notice while waiting on recertification, we may be able to help. A phone call is all you need to get started.