Discretionary Housing Payments
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element, we may be able to give you more financial assistance towards your rent. Discretionary Housing Payments are free standing payments we can provide if you receive Housing Benefit and/or Universal Credit and you need extra help with:
- Your rent
- Other rent payments including rent in advance and rental deposits (where our other departments cannot assist)
- Other lump sum payments associated with your housing needs, such as removal costs
What we look at to make a decision
These payments are based on your income and your outgoings, which could include income we might disregard when looking at your entitlement to Housing Benefit.
There are a number of different factors that we look at when assessing your application for a Discretionary Housing Payment. These include:
- If you have any savings
- If anyone else is living in the property who could help you financially
- If you have any existing loans or debts
- If there's any way of you rearranging your finances to improve your situation
- If you or your family have any special circumstances, such as ill health or a disability
How long are DHPs awarded for?
Typically, DHPs are for short periods of time to help you through a specific financial crisis but longer awards can be agreed. These are only in limited circumstances such as if your property is being extensively adapted to cater for a disability.
When could a DHP be awarded?
Examples of when we may award a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are experiencing financial hardship:
- If you cannot move to either smaller or less expensive accommodation because someone in your family has serious health problems
- If you cannot move to either smaller or less expensive accommodation and you’re facing eviction because you can’t afford to pay the difference between your benefit and your rent
We can't pay a DHP for the following:
- Any shortfall in your Council Tax
- Service or support charges on your home that Housing Benefit or Universal Credit won’t pay for
- When your rent is reduced due to recovering a Housing Benefit overpayment
- Where your benefit has been reduced by the Department for Works and Pensions, usually due to a sanction
- Additional money added to your rent costs because you are in arrears
What if I disagree with the decision?
As this scheme is discretionary, there is no law giving you the right to appeal the decision. However, you can request a review of our decision. Your request will then be looked at by a senior member of staff who will advise you of our revised decision within one calendar month of your request. This decision is final.
You cannot ask for us to review our decision if the funding for this scheme has been used up or if you do not meet the criteria to be eligible.
Discretionary Housing Payments are not payments of Housing Benefit but are instead from a separate fund of money which is allocated each year by the Government to each individual council. Councils are not allowed to spend more than their “permitted amount”, so once this amount has been spent we cannot award any more payments. Unfortunately we cannot help everyone and must prioritise cases, with each case being looked at with its own discretion.
If you need help with a Discretionary Housing Payment you can contact the Benefits team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Housing Solutions team is available for advice on housing rights, welfare benefit and negotiating with your landlord. Please use the contact details below.