SEER-Medicare: Housing Assistance Data

NCI and the SEER registries have partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to link the SEER-Medicare data with HUD administrative data on public and assisted housing program participants. The linkage of these data will allow for the examination of the associations of housing assistance status with cancer presentation, treatment, and outcomes, which can then inform efforts to reduce inequities.

To link the HUD data with the SEER-Medicare data, individual identifiers submitted by the SEER registries for all persons included in their data (e.g., persons reported to have a new incident cancer diagnosis) and by HUD for all persons participating in their public and assisted housing programs were compared. HUD administrative data on matching persons and their households was then pulled into the SEER-Medicare data resource. All personal identifiers are removed from the data, prior to being released to requestors.

The to-be-included HUD files are described below and the Obtaining SEER-Medicare Data section provides information on how to submit a data request.

Three HUD files will be made available to researchers:

  1. The Temporal Alignment File is a person-level file that includes information on whether the individual (a) ever received HUD assistance from 2006 to 2020 (b) received HUD assistance during the month of their cancer diagnosis, or (c) began receiving housing assistance after their cancer diagnosis. The file additionally contains information on episode duration and type of housing assistance received.

    For individuals with HUD assistance concurrent with diagnosis, the Temporal Alignment File provides the date of the transaction that is nearest to and before the date of diagnosis. Household income, number of people in the household, household structure, and other variables are provided for this transaction date.

    For individuals with HUD assistance after diagnosis, the Temporal Alignment File provides the date of the transaction that is nearest to and after the date of diagnosis. These transaction dates may be useful for linking to information available in the Transaction File. Household income, number of people in the household, household structure, and other variables are provided for this transaction date.

    For individuals with HUD assistance that ends prior to their diagnosis, the Temporal Alignment File provides the date of the transaction that is nearest to and before the date of diagnosis. Household income, number of people in the household, household structure, and other variables are provided for this transaction date.

  2. The Episode File is in long-format and includes the start date, end date, program type, and timing relative to diagnosis for all episodes of HUD assistance. In the rare cases where a participant had overlapping episodes at the time of diagnosis, a logic hierarchy prioritizing larger, non-Moving To Work programs was used to select which episode was included.
  3. The Transaction File, also in long-format, provides person-level and household-level variables at each transaction time point. The transaction date, timing relative to cancer diagnosis, transaction type (new admission, recertification, etc.), and an indicator of which episode the transaction belongs to are included. Household-level variables in the transaction file include household income, household expenses, number of people in the household, household structure, the head of household’s race and ethnicity, whether the household is considered very or extremely low income, the date the family was placed on the waiting list for the program they are currently assisted by, whether the household was classified as homeless at program admission, and the total number of bedrooms in the unit occupied. Researchers may wish to select information from particular transaction dates to appropriately describe the sample. Special permission will be required to access this file.
Last Updated: 27 Sep, 2023