Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP's) help people with their rent when their housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs payment does not meet the full value of their rent. You must be in receipt of some housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs for an award to be made.
If you are suffering severe financial hardship, need short-term help or your tenancy is at risk, you may be able to get a discretionary payment to help towards these payments.
A Discretionary Housing Payment may also be paid for one off housing costs in particular with moving to affordable accommodation if the money needed cannot be secured elsewhere:
- rent deposit (If a rent bond guarantee cannot be put in place by us)
- rent in advance (if needed to secure a tenancy - an award will not be made if you have already moved as the amount was not needed to secure the tenancy)
- removal costs (you will need to supply a quote from a removal contractor)
For a one-off payment of housing costs to be awarded you must be in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.
Claiming a Discretionary Housing Payment
Anyone who is in receipt of housing benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, can claim a DHP towards their rent. Anyone who is in receipt of main Council Tax support (not including second adult rebate) can also claim a DHP towards their Council Tax.
To qualify, we must be satisfied that you need further help with your housing costs. The sort of things we would look at when deciding on a DHP include:
- whether you have any savings (savings over £3,000 would be taken into consideration)
- whether you could get help from any other source
- whether anybody else in the house, such as non-dependants are able to help you financially
- any assets you have which could be used to meet the shortfall
- outstanding loans or debts
- if you could rearrange your finances to ease the situation and whether you are currently receiving of have received any debt counselling
- what your total income is, including those which are partly of fully disregarded for housing and Council Tax support
- is the new property that you are considering moving to affordable
- the reasons you need to move to a new property
Discretionary Housing Payment amounts
There is no limit to how much DHP you could receive, but we cannot pay more than your full eligible rent or Council Tax charge. There is also no limit to how long we can pay a DHP for, although generally they are made for short periods of time. This is whilst you take further advice about your financial situation or take other action to improve your situation, such as finding cheaper accommodation.
Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment
To apply for a DHP you will need to complete a DHP form online using the option below, which helps us collect all the information we need to decide whether you can receive additional help. Please include as much information as possible, including evidence of your outgoings for your application to be considered. We may contact you if we require and additional information.
If you apply for a DHP within 1 month of being notified about your Council Tax support or housing benefit award, then the DHP will normally start from the date your benefit entitlement started or changed.
Payments for Discretionary Housing Payments
Although DHP's are not payments of housing benefit or Council Tax support, they will be paid as housing benefit payments or Council Tax support awards.
Council Tax DHP's are credited to your Council Tax account. Rent DHP's will be sent to either you or your landlord in the same way as your housing benefit payments.
If you receive Universal Credit, discretionary payments will also be made on a monthly basis. We will try to pay them at the same time as your Universal Credit payment.
Changes in circumstances
If your circumstances change you must notify us, in writing, within 1 month. We will look at the DHP that we awarded and see whether it needs to be changed. If you are entitled to more DHP then we will pay you more but if you are entitled to less, you may have to pay back some or all of the DHP already paid to you. View more information on how to report a change in circumstances.
Disagreeing with the amount or period of Discretionary Housing Payment
If you disagree with our decision about the DHP, you should write to us by letter or email at the address shown on our decision letter within 1 month of the date of the letter telling you about the DHP.
We will review the decision and change it if we think it is wrong. We will then write to you and tell you the outcome of the review.