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Housing Benefit/Universal Credit - Discretionary Housing Payments

What is Discretionary Housing Payments Scheme (DHP)

Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit is not always enough for you to be able to pay your rent if there is a shortfall between the amount allowed and your rent liability. Or if you have unusual or extreme circumstances which are causing hardship you are at risk of becoming homeless, we may be able to help.

There is a scheme that can help in difficult situations. It's called Discretionary Housing Payments.

They are not payments of Housing Benefit and as the name suggests payments are made at our discretion.

To receive an award you must:

  • Be getting Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit and have a shortfall between this and your rent liability (but not with service charges not payable by Housing Benefit, such as fuel charges).
  • Satisfy the DHP Officer you require extra help with housing costs.

Who can get a DHP?

You must be entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit.

The amount of Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit you get must be less than full benefit.

The main reasons you may not get full benefit are;

  • If you are a private tenant, the Valuation Office Agency may have decided that your rent is too high or large for your needs.
  • Your benefit may be reduced because of the level of your income.
  • You are a Social Landlord tenant and subject to the Under Occupancy Reduction
  • You are under 35 and subject to Single Room Rent level

If you don't qualify for Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit, you can't get a DHP.

We only have so much money per year to pay awards of DHP, therefore how the money is spent throughout the year is carefully monitored.

As part of the claim process you will be asked to provide details of your weekly/monthly out goings and provide proof of all items of expenditure declared plus 2 months worth of bank statements for each and every account held.

We will look at each case on its merits. We consider things like:

  • The size of the shortfall
  • Health or disability
  • Why it's unreasonable to have to move
  • How long the help will last

These are just examples, you need to tell us all you can to help a decision be made without delay.

Help with your Council Tax

Council Tax Support is not always enough for you to be able to pay your Council Tax bill. If you have unusual or extreme circumstances which are causing you hardship we may be able to help.

There is a scheme that can help in difficult situations. It's called the Council Tax Discretionary Fund.

As the name suggests, we make payments at our discretion.

To receive an award you must:

  • Be Getting Council Tax Support
  • Satisfy theDHP Officer that you require extra help with with housing costs by providing your income and expenses

How to Apply

In order to claim help with your housing costs and/or Council Tax please complete an online application.  Alternatively you can download a copy of the Discretionary Housing Payment form.

Please be advised DHP is not a benefit and is therefore not subject to appeal. These payments are not be relied upon as they are temporary in order to assist you to seek cheaper or smaller  accommodation or until financial circumstance are resolved. DHP is normally awarded for a maximum of 13 weeks and in most circumstances be reclaimed once the initial award period has elapsed unless a fixed period of award has been granted.    

Important related document to read prior to submitting an application: