Discretionary Housing Payments are available to claimants who require additional help towards their housing costs. The Council has a limited amount of money to make these payments and can only make payments to those in greatest need.
Your questions answered
Am I eligible to apply for a discretionary housing payment?
You must be entitled to, and in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and there must be a shortfall between the amount of benefit paid and your housing costs.
How do I claim a discretionary housing payment ?
A questionnaire is available from the Benefits Section, it requests details of your income and expenditure and other information relevant to making a decision on your claim. You can also download a form.
What cannot be covered by a discretionary housing payment ?
DHPs cannot be given for the following:
- Service or support charges not covered by housing benefit
- Outstanding rent arrears
- Deductions from housing benefit due to any DWP benefit being sanctioned
- When your housing benefit payments are suspended
- Shortfalls caused by us recovering an overpayment from your ongoing housing benefit.
How does the Council decide if I can get a discretionary housing payment ?
The following things are looked at when making a decision:
- The shortfall between Housing Benefit and the rental liability;
- Any steps taken by the claimant to reduce the rental liability;
- If a member of the household has a disability and has the accommodation been adapted to meet their needs;
- The medical circumstances (i.e. ill health and disabilities) of the claimant, their partner and any other occupants of the claimant's home;
- If the claimant moved to the address in order to assist with care;
- The income and expenditure of the claimant, their partner and any other occupants of the claimant's home;
- Any savings or capital that might be held;
- The level of indebtedness of the claimant or their family;
- The exceptional nature of the claimant and family's circumstances;
- If the applicant provides accommodation for foster children;
- Hardship suffered by the claimant;
- If the individual is fleeing domestic abuse or violence;
- If children are near the age limits, at which they would qualify for their own room;
- The possible impact on the Council of not making such an award, e.g. the pressure on priority homeless accommodation;
- If help required to secure new affordable accommodation eg rent in advance or a bond
- Consideration will be given to the long term affordability of a tenancy.
- Any other special circumstances.
If I am successful in getting an award how long will it last ?
The length of time for awarding a Discretionary Housing Payment will vary according to your needs and circumstances.
The start date of an award will normally be the Monday after the written claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment is received although it is possible to backdate an award.
How much can I claim?
The Benefits Section will decide how much to award based on your circumstances. The maximum weekly award is the difference between your eligible rent and your housing benefit entitlement. There is no restriction on rent in advance / bond awards.
How will the money be paid ?
You or your landlord will generally be paid the DHP along with your housing benefit in your normal housing benefit cheque / bacs payment.
How long will it take to process my claim ?
We will inform you of the outcome of your claim within 14 days of receipt of all the information required to make a decision on your claim or as soon as we reasonably can thereafter. We will advise you of the amount of Discretionary Housing Payment, the period of award and how it will be paid.
What if my circumstances change after I have been awarded a Discretionary Payment?
You must inform the Benefits Section immediately, in writing of any changes in your circumstances. Your claim for a discretionary payment may then be reviewed.
If I am not awarded a Discretionary Payment what can I do ?
You can request a review of the decision not to award a payment. An independent officer will reconsider your request and advise you of the outcome.