Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but you still cannot manage to pay your rent, you may be entitled to extra help.
Discretionary Housing Payments are not payments of benefit but you must already be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for us to consider your case. If you are already getting your full rent paid (except for ineligible service charges), we cannot give you any more help.
There are no set rules about the amount of Discretionary Housing Payments we can give you or the circumstances in which it will be awarded - we will look at each case individually. Any award will be granted for a fixed period and should not be relied upon as a long term solution to any short-term fall in the level of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you receive.
Each year the Government will limit the total amount we can award. Once we have reached that amount we will not be able to make any more Discretionary Housing Payments for the rest of the year, whatever your circumstances.
You can get a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are already getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but you do not get the full amount because:
• we are making a non-dependant deduction from your benefit because of an adult living with you (other than your partner)
• your Housing Benefit has been reduced because of the benefit cap
• you are a council tenant or a housing association tenant and affected by the 'bedroom tax'
• you are a private tenant and we think your rent is too high
• your income means you do not get full Housing Benefit
• you are moving and need help with a rent deposit or rent in advance
- you are moving to a more affordable property and need help with removal costs
To apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
You should complete the application form answering all the questions.
Assessing your claim for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
Payment will be for a limited period of time but you can re-apply when the payment stops. We will write to you confirming whether or not your claim has been successful, telling you how much you will get and how long the payments will last. The fixed nature of funding is likely to mean that demand for help may outstrip funding. Awards will, therefore, also be based on the availability of funding at any point together with individuals' circumstances. In some instances it may not be possible to make a full or even partial award of DHP.
In some cases, we can backdate DHP to before you claimed it.
How will you receive the payments?
Awards of DHP are included with your payments of Housing Benefit.
Under some circumstances we may pay your DHP directly to your landlord if we think it is appropriate in your case. For any payments for removals payment will be made directly to the removals firm.
Please see Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page.
Where the Benefits Team are in a position to identify those who are affected by the Welfare Reforms they will seek applications for DHP direct. In such cases it is clear by the nature of the welfare reforms that financial assistance is appropriate. Having secured an application it is not intended to seek any further information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is DHP applicable to me?
A. If you currently receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and if you are suffering severe financial hardship or your tenancy is at risk you may be able to receive a Discretionary Payment to help.
Q. How we make a decision?
A. Before considering awarding a DHP it is important to check that all other benefits have been claimed and are being paid at the appropriate rate. The DHP award must not exceed the weekly eligible rent. This will usually be paid for a short period of time although there will be some circumstances where the award will last for a longer period.
Q. How long can I expect to wait to hear the outcome of my DHP application?
A. We aim to look at your application within 15 working days of receipt. If all necessary information is supplied then a decision will be made, otherwise we will contact you for further information to help us to do that; if you have given us a contact telephone number this will help us to do this without delay.
Q. What happens if I disagree with the decision?
A. If you disagree with the decision about your DHP application you can ask us to look at your case again. There is no formal right of appeal against a decision not to award a Discretionary Housing Payment, however you may request a reconsideration of the decision and you should do so within one month of the date of the notification letter. The decision can also be looked at again in the light of any new information presented to us or whenever we consider it to be appropriate.
Q. What happens to a DHP award if I have a change in my circumstances, what do I do?
A. You will need to tell us immediately as it could affect your eligibility or the amount you receive. If your award of Housing Benefit changes we may also change the amount of DHP awarded.
Our Aims and Objectives
In administering DHP, the council will treat all applicants equally and fairly and will seek to promote the following objectives:
• prevention of homelessness
• alleviating poverty
• sustaining tenancies and safeguarding residents in their homes
• preventing hardship
• supporting vulnerable young people in the transition to adult life;
• supporting young people to achieve good educational outcomes
• encouraging residents to seek and sustain employment
• keeping families together
• supporting domestic abuse victims who are trying to move to a place of safety
• supporting disabled people to remain in adapted properties