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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)

If you are getting Housing Benefit or an award of Universal Credit (UC) that includes a housing element towards rental liability, but are still finding it hard to pay your rent, you may be able to get extra help by applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

As DHPs are paid from a limited fund, they are usually awarded as a short-term measure to help people while they make efforts to resolve their difficulties and the Council targets payments to those in the greatest need.

You can apply for a DHP to help pay your rent if:

  • You are already getting Housing Benefit.
  • Your Housing Benefit is below the full rent less any services  for which Housing Benefit cannot be paid such as heating charges or water rates.
  • Special circumstances exist which mean you cannot pay the difference between your benefit and your full rent.
  • You have an award of Universal Credit (UC) that includes a housing element.

Housing costs means rental liability; however, housing costs can be interpreted more widely to include: rent in advance; deposits; and other lump sum costs associated with a housing need such as removal costs.

How to apply for a DHP

If you are applying for help with your rent liability.

Download and complete the form and then post or bring it to us, or

Phone our Welfare Help and Advice Team on 01792 635885 for advice on asking for a DHP - we welcome calls in Welsh, or

Call in to the Civic Centre and speak to the Benefit staff in the Contact Centre.

PDF Document Application form - Discretionary Housing Payment (PDF, 62KB)Opens new window

If you are applying for help with rent in advance, a bond or moving expenses

Download and complete the form and then post or bring it to us, or

Phone our Welfare Help and Advice Team on 01792 635885 for advice on asking for a DHP - we welcome calls in Welsh, or

Call in to the Civic Centre and speak to the Benefit staff in the Contact Centre.

PDF Document Application form - Discretionary Housing Payment moving expenses (PDF, 56KB)Opens new window

However you apply, please give us as much information as possible to help us understand why your circumstances are special.

When we can make a Discretionary Housing Payment

Examples of when a DHP may be awarded are:

  • If you have extra expenses due to special circumstances such as someone in your household being in hospital
  • If you experience temporary hardship due to loss of employment or loss of benefits when returning to work
  • If you are at risk of the loss of your home where we feel the award of a DHP would prevent this
  • If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit award has been reduced due to the social sector size criteria (the bedroom tax) and you need help with the cost of moving to a smaller property

When we can't make a payment

This extra payment is not available for the following purposes:

  • To help with Council Tax
  • For water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent.
  • To cover any shortfall in Housing Benefit that occurs due to an overpayment being recovered
  • To pay a rent that is clearly excessive
  • To cover an increase in your rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • To cover the cost of certain sanctions and reductions in benefit e.g. a counter fraud punishment
  • If your Universal Credit does not include a Housing Element

After your application

  • If we decide that we can make a payment, we will write to tell you how much you will be paid and for how long.
  • If we decide that we can't make a payment, we will write and tell you the reasons for our decision.
  • If you disagree with the decision you have the right to request a review. Requests must be made by the person who made the claim for the DHP (or their appointee), in writing and within a calendar month of the date of the decision letter. 

DHP will either be paid in the same way as your Housing Benefit or if you receive Universal Credit by the method you choose on your application

Things to remember

  • DHPs cannot help you with your Council Tax.
  • Apply as soon as you think you need extra help.
  • Give us as much information as you can to help us understand why your circumstances are special.

Frequently asked questions about discretionary housing payments

Find out answers to the most common questions we get asked about discretionary housing payments (DHPs).

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