Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are additional payments to help with rent or housing costs. They are only available for people who receive either Housing Benefit or a housing element of Universal Credit.
We have a limited amount of money to make a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) so can only make payments to those in greatest need.
You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment 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.
- 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.
Before you apply
- talk to your landlord to see if you can pay a lower rent
- see if you can find a cheaper place to live
- get advice from other organisations about how you can improve your situation. You can use our list of organisations to help with this
How to apply
If you are applying for help with your rent liability
Discretionary Housing Payments assist people who need extra help to pay their rent when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not cover the full amount. If you are suffering severe financial hardship or your tenancy is at risk, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to help you.
If you are applying for help with rent in advance, a bond or moving expenses
If you are successful in this application you will not normally be considered for any further DHP for moving expenses in future. Normally an application for DHP for moving expenses will not be successful if your current home is suitable for your requirements and you have no exceptional circumstances for moving or if it is obvious that the new property will be unaffordable and could lead to future eviction/ homelessness.
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
- if you require further financial assistance to pay your rent and are considered vulnerable for example you are a care leaver or have been affected by Domestic abuse
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 for example 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.