Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a special payment made to individuals who need extra help with their housing costs (rent).
DHPs are not part of the normal Housing Benefit scheme. They are funded by Central Government on a yearly basis and the money available is limited. For this reason, the Council will only grant help to people who have special circumstances which make it difficult for them to pay their rent.
You can apply for Discretionary Financial Assistance (DOCX, 107KB) if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing element of Universal Credit(UC). Please do not apply before you know that you are entitled to one of these benefits.
You cannot claim a DHP for help with rent if you only get Council Tax Reduction, but you may be eligible for a discretionary Council Tax Reduction
We can consider a DHP to help cover any shortfall between your rent liability and the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (UC) that does not cover the rent you have to pay.
The sort of things we can help with are:
- If the rent charged by your landlord is more than the amount allowed by Housing Benefit or the Housing element of UC.
- If your benefit has been reduced because your income is above the level of a means tested benefit such as Income Support.
- If your benefit has been reduced because a non-dependant lives in your home and they can’t help you with the shortfall.
A Discretionary Housing Payment cannot be awarded to help with the following:
- Service charges that are not covered by Housing Benefit or UC, such as fuel charges
- Charges for water or sewerage services
- Deductions in benefit as a result of benefit sanctions
- Deductions in respect of overpaid Housing Benefit
If your move is essential, for example if you need to move home to reduce your outgoings, take up a definite offer of employment or because you are at risk of being made homeless, a Discretionary Housing Payment may be able to help with:
- other lump sum costs associated with a housing need such as removal costs.
We are unlikely to award a Discretionary Housing Payment if you wish to move from a Housing Association property to private rented accommodation (unless there is a good reason to move) or if the only reason you want to move is to be closer to a particular school.
If we make a payment for a deposit you will not be granted another Discretionary Hardship Payment for a deposit unless the circumstances are exceptional.
We take into consideration elements such as:
- Your income, for example, earnings, other benefits, pensions, maintenance
- Any savings you have that may cover the shortfall for a period
- Any disregarded income, for example, Child Benefit
- Any contribution made by a non-dependant
- Outgoings, for example loan repayments, fares to work, child minding fees, HP for essential items, extra expenses connected with a disability such as extra travel costs
- Whether it is possible for you to move
- How long it will take you to find suitable alternative accommodation
- Possibility of eviction
This is guidance only. We treat every case on its own merits and may also be able to take into account other factors that we have not mentioned here.
DHPs are usually awarded for a set period and this may vary from case to case. The length of time of the first award of a DHP is based on the amount of time we think it will take you to find a long term solution to the problem. For example if your rent is high, we may pay a DHP while you look for alternative accommodation.
If you apply and do not agree with our decision, you can ask for our decision to be looked at again. DHPs cannot be appealed in the same way as Housing Benefit decisions. We will initially review our decision if you ask us to. If you are still not satisfied after this, we can set up an internal panel to review the decision.
You will need to complete a DHP application form.
Shortfall between rent and benefit application
If you want to apply for help for an ongoing shortfall between you rent and the amount of benefit you receive, you can fill out our Online Shortfall Application Form or download and return the paper copy of the Shortfall Application Form (PDF, 143KB) to us using the address on the form.
Lump sum to help you move.
If you want to apply for help with a deposit, rent in advance or moving costs, you will need to complete the Deposit and Lump Sum Application Form (PDF, 99KB)
We may need to see evidence of any additional expenditure that you have, such as loans. If we need more information you may need to attend an interview. If this is the case we will write to you to let you know the time and the date.
Email us or call us on 01908 253040
Last Updated: 6 April 2020