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​​Discretionary Housing Payment - additional help with housing costs

Coronavirus (COVID-19):latest information about Council Tax and benefits.


A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is an emergency payment to help you with your rent or housing costs.

A DHP is only awarded for a short period of time and shouldn't be considered a permanent solution to a shortfall in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payment. 

Eligibility

You must get either Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit to be eligible.

In addition, you must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • Your Housing Benefit payment doesn't cover all your rent.
  • Your Universal Credit payment doesn't cover all your housing costs
  • You need help with removal costs
  • You need help with a rent deposit

Before you apply

Before applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment, you may want to:

Information and documents you need to apply

if you decide to apply, you'll need the following information available before you start your application:

  • A detailed breakdown of all the income you receive, your expenses, your savings and your debts, including:
    • Exact amount you receive either weekly or monthly from all your wages, pensions and benefit payments.
    • Exact amount you spend either weekly or monthly on household expenses. This includes rent, Council Tax, water, gas, electricity, food, phones, internet, TV licence, TV packages, home insurance, life insurance, clothes, car expenses, bus fares, taxi fares, meals at work, school meals and childcare costs.
    • Exact amount of savings you and any partner who lives with you has.
  • Names, dates of birth and income details for everyone who lives in your home
  • Proof of any debts or rent arrears you have, such as an arrears statement
  • Why you think you need extra help to meet your housing costs
  • If you receive Universal Credit, your latest Universal Credit award letter and proof of how much your rent is, such as a copy of your tenancy agreement
  • If you rent your home, the name of your landlord
  • If someone provides care and support for a member of your household, their name and address
  • Account number and sort code for the account where you would like your payments made

Claim a Discretionary Housing Payment

To make a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment:

  1. Complete the Discretionary Housing Payment application form. You should apply as soon as possible as we may only pay your claim from the date we receive your request.
  2. We aim to respond to you within 10 working days to tell you whether or not your claim has been successful. We'll tell you how much you'll get and how long it will last for. You can reapply when the payment stops if you need to.
Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

Amount you'll receive

The maximum amount you might get is your full rent minus the amount of Housing Benefit or housing element of your Universal Credit you receive.

If you've been affected by the Benefit Cap, you may be allowed more depending on your circumstances.

When you're paid

If your claim is successful and you receive:

  • Housing Benefit - you'll get your Discretionary Housing Payment at the same time as your next Housing Benefit payment.
  • Universal Credit - you'll get your Discretionary Housing Payment as a separate payment paid directly into your bank account.

How we decide who gets a DHP

We'll look at your individual circumstances to decide whether to award a DHP. We aim to make sure payments are made to those who are most in need.

Examples of when we might award a DHP

Here are just a few examples of when we may or may not award a Discretionary Housing Payment. They do not cover all the circumstances so if you're not sure and you're struggling to pay your rent, please apply anyway.

We may award a DHP if:

  • You can't move to somewhere smaller or less expensive because someone in your family has serious health problems.
  • You're pregnant and have moved into a more suitable home for when your child is born. Your Housing Benefit is restricted because your property is considered too big for one person until your child is born.
  • Your home has been specially adapted for yours or your family member's needs.
  • You're affected by the benefit cap which means you're not receiving the maximum amount of Housing Benefit or housing element of Universal Credit.
  • You need to move home because your current property is dangerous or unacceptable. You've found a more suitable property to move to but don't have enough money to pay the bond or deposit.

We won't normally award a DHP if we think you can deal with the shortfall in other ways, such as claiming other benefits you're entitled to, negotiating any debt repayments or cutting down on unnecessary and avoidable expenses.

How you can use your payment

You can use a Discretionary Housing Payment to pay for:

  • Rent
  • Deposit or bond for moving house
  • Rent arrears

You can't use a Discretionary Housing Payment to pay for:

  • Council Tax - but you may be eligible for Discretionary Council Tax Support.
  • Service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, such as gas, water or electricity
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • A shortfall in your Housing Benefit due to repaying overpaid Housing Benefit
  • Rent that's clearly excessive

Appeal a decision

You don't have any right of appeal if we turn down your claim. However, you can ask us to look at the decision again. This is called a review.

Please get in touch using the contact details on this page to ask us for a review of a DHP decision.

Report changes in your circumstances

You must tell us about anything you think might affect your entitlement to Discretionary Housing Payments. You must do this within 1 month of the change taking place.

Please use the contact details on this page to tell us about changes in your circumstances.

Contact

0300 303 8870

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Postal address
Revenues and Benefits Service
PO Box 490
Rochdale OL16 9AJ