Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are a top-up to benefit, and are considered if a person needs extra help with their housing costs. Any payment awarded is made in addition to any Housing Benefit / Universal Credit that has been awarded.
There is only a certain amount of money to spend on these payments, so an application is required in order to decide if a DHP can be made.
Discretionary Housing Payments are generally only available as short-term assistance, not a long-term solution
What can Discretionary Housing Payments cover?
Discretionary Housing Payments can cover:
- a shortfall between Housing Benefit / Universal Credit housing costs and rent
Discretionary Housing payments cannot cover:
- increases in rent due to rent arrears
- any shortfall in Council Tax liability
- benefit that has been suspended because of a failure to supply information
- any reduction in benefit as a result of non-attendance at a work-focused interview, a Job Seeker’s Allowance employment sanction or failure to comply with the Child Support Agency in arranging maintenance
- charges for water and sewerage.
Who can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?
To be eligible for a DHP, a person must be receiving Housing Benefit / Housing costs element of Universal Credit and must satisfy the Council that further help is required with housing costs by providing proof of income and expenditure.
DHP cannot be awarded where full Housing Benefit or Universal Credit costs are already payable.
Discretionary Housing Payment Policy (pdf).
Applying for Discretionary Housing Payment?
An application for a Discretionary Housing Payment is made by completing an online application, please find link below:
Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment online
There is also a paper-based form which can be sent out if needed. Please make a request for this to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funds for DHPs are limited, so not all applications will be successful. If the application is from someone acting on another person’s behalf, this should be made clear on the form.
How will it be paid?
If a claim is successful, payment will be made together with any Housing Benefit. It will normally start from the Monday following receipt of an application.
What happens if circumstances change?
If circumstances change, the Council must be told immediately as the DHP award may be affected. If the change means that you have received monies to which you are not entitled you may be asked to pay it back.
Examples of changes that must be reported are:
- Benefits starting or stopping
- Moving address
- Changes in income or savings (up or down)
- A person moving in or out of the home
You can report changes to your circumstances with regards to your Housing Benefit entitlement online here.
Disagreeing with a Decision?
Discretionary Housing Payments are made outside of the Housing Benefit scheme and therefore there are no statutory appeal rights. However, the Council will review a decision if a written request is made.
Any appeal should be made within one month of the date on the decision letter, setting out the reasons for the appeal. Alternatively, a person can phone, write, or visit the Council to explain the decision and/or request a written statement of reasons, which will show more information about the decision.