Discretionary Housing Payment
Discretionary housing payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are payments that can be
awarded if your housing benefit is less than the amount you
are being charged for rent. Council tax benefit has been
abolished from 1 April 2013; therefore, you can no longer claim a
DHP for council tax benefit or its replacement council tax
DHPs are not payments of housing benefit. DHPs are
awarded from a cash limited budget, at the discretion of your local
council, where it is considered additional help is needed. We
cannot award DHPs to help with ineligible amounts included in your
rent - for example, certain service charges, gas, electric, food,
water rates or for rent increases due to rent arrears.
Eligibility for help
A DHP payment can only be made if you are already in
receipt of housing benefit.
Additionally, you need to demonstrate that due to your personal
circumstances you need extra help with your housing costs. The
amount and length of award will depend on your circumstances and
the amount of money we have available. The award is intended
as a short-term measure and should not be relied upon in the
Qualifying for DHP
We will consider all requests while trying to ensure that
payments are made to those most in need. There is no list of
circumstances that will automatically qualify you for an award.
Each request will be considered on its own merits.
The following are examples of situations where a DHP might be
You have unavoidable extra expenses due to short term illness or
significant health problems
You are having difficulty paying your rent whilst you look for
The Local Housing Allowance does not cover your full rent
Your choice of housing was beyond your control due to urgency or
You have unusual or special circumstances
When you moved into the property you could afford the rent but
your circumstances changed and you cannot move until your tenancy
This list is a guide only and will not cover all
circumstances. We also look at other factors such as:
Do you have savings?
Can anyone in the household provide financial help?
Do you have other debts?
Have you chosen to rent an over-expensive property without the
means to pay the rent?
Have you tried to re-negotiate the rent with the landlord?
Wherever it is possible and reasonable to do so, you will be
expected to take steps to improve the circumstances that have led
to the need for a discretionary payment - for example, finding more
How much money can I get?
Discretionary Housing Payments will be paid at the discretion of
the Council, but they cannot be greater than your weekly
rental liability. For example, if your eligible rent is £50
per week and your entitlement to housing benefit is £45 the maximum
Discretionary Housing Payment you can get is £5 per week.
Discretionary Housing Payments are strictly limited each year.
If a payment is awarded, it will last for a specified period of
time (possibly three or six months at the most). Once the period
ends you can apply for another Discretionary Housing Payment award
and this will be considered. Reported changes in circumstances can
also reduce or end your award early. Therefore, the Council
must be advised of all changes as they occur.
If rent is paid to a private landlord or housing association,
the DHP is included in housing benefit payments. If you are
awarded a DHP, you will be advised of the amount and when payments
will commence. If your circumstances change and you have been
overpaid you will be expected to repay the overpayment. Therefore,
It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your
If your request is turned down
Although there are no appeal rights against the decision not to
award a DHP you can ask for the decision to be reviewed. To do
this, you must write to the benefits service within one
calendar month of the date of the decision letter, providing any
additional information that you feel may help your application. We
will then review our decision and write to you with the
How to apply
To apply for a discretionary housing payment, please download
You can also request a form by calling 01992 785503.