Discretionary Housing Payment Application


Every year, the Council has a limited amount of money to help residents who may need extra financial help to meet their housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) may be awarded when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs do not provide enough money to pay the rent.
Discretionary Housing Payments are not part of the normal Housing Benefit or Universal Credit schemes, but are payments that may be made when extra financial support is needed. A Discretionary Housing Payment is not a benefit payment. The total weekly amount of any award, including Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs, will not be more than your actual eligible rent. Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be paid in respect of ineligible service charges (such as water rates, fuel charges, meals) or Council Tax costs.
Discretionary Housing Payments are available if you are already entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs, and the Council is satisfied you require additional financial assistance to meet your housing costs. This could be because:
  • your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been reduced due to the benefit cap
  • you are a social tenant and deemed to be under occupying your home
  • you are a private tenant and you rent is restricted due to a rent officer decision or the local housing allowance

What information is needed to claim?
You must tell us why you think you need extra help to meet your housing costs, include information such as:
  • any disabilities or illnesses you or a member of your family may have
  • how your disability or illness may affect you financially (for example, extra costs) or prevents you from moving
  • details of income and spending, including debts
  • any change in circumstances that would make it more difficult for you to meet any rent shortfall
  • what would happen if you lost your home
  • any other special circumstances
As part of this was may ask to see other reasonable evidence to support the claim.
How is it assessed?
We will look at each case individually based on a person’s circumstances. We will write to tell you whether or not your application has been successful.
Any award made for a short period will give you time to sort out your financial circumstances. In any cases where there is no precise period by which your circumstances will improve, an award may still be made.
For any successful awards, a letter will include details of how much will be awarded, and during what period it will cover.
How will it be paid?
The payment will be either:
  • combined with a resident’s Housing Benefit payment
  • if you are in receipt of Universal Credit Housing Costs, we will make payments separately. This may be to you or directly to your landlord.

What happens if a residents circumstances change?
You must notify us about anything that might affect your entitlement to a Discretionary Housing Payment. You must do this within one month of this change taking place. Failure to notify us may lead to overpayments. Intentional failure to notify us may be considered as Benefit Fraud.
Changes in circumstances include, but are not limited to changes:
  • in address
  • in household income including benefits, wages, pensions or income from lodgers. This includes partners and children’s income
  • to the number of individuals living in the home
  • in the circumstances of the individuals living in the home including starting or leaving education or study and any changes in employment

What if a resident disagrees with our decision?
You do not have the right of appeal if we turn down your application for a Discretionary Housing Payment but you can ask for the decisions to be looked at again. This is called a review.
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