Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are short-term payments to help people with their rent if they are experiencing financial hardship. They can be awarded as a one-off payment or as a series of payments.
DHPs are not Housing Benefit. However, to receive a DHP you must be paying rent and be receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with eligibility for support towards housing costs.
DHPs are paid from a limited budget and each request is considered on its own merits. Please complete the application form carefully and provide as much relevant information as possible to support your application.
Who can claim?
You will only get DHPs if you already receive:
Housing Benefit or are eligible for support towards housing costs in Universal Credit, and
you have a shortfall between the amount of Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit you receive and your rent liability, and
we consider that you need additional help with your housing costs
If you do not receive Housing Benefit or are not eligible for support with housing costs in Universal Credit you cannot receive a DHP.
What can DHPs help with?
DHPs can be awarded to top up Housing Benefit or the Housing Element in Universal Credit where there is a difference between the amount you are charged in rent and the amount you have to pay after Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been awarded.
However, the total amount awarded cannot be more than your eligible rent liability (i.e. the shortfall between your Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit and your rent liability).
Types of shortfall DHP can be used to help with:
You have a spare room that Housing Benefit will not pay for;
Your Housing Benefit or Housing Element of Universal Credit has reduced because your benefit has been capped;
The rent you pay is considered too high for the property you occupy
You are single, under 35 years of age and are living in a one-bedroom flat or larger property;
Your benefit is being reduced because there is a non-dependant in the household;
Where your income is above the level the Government says you need, but you are still struggling to pay your rent.
When DHPs will not be given
Below is a list of examples where DHPs would not be paid to help with your housing costs:
You are not receiving full Housing Benefit or Housing Costs in Universal Credit because of ineligible service charges included in your rent;
You cannot pay your rent because it has been increased to cover rent arrears;
You cannot pay your housing costs because your Housing Benefit has been suspended;
You cannot receive a DHP for help with Council Tax;
If we believe that you could afford the rent by prioritising your housing costs;
If you could reduce the hardship by moving to a property where Housing Benefit would meet all the rent;
If you knew that Housing Benefit would not meet the rent before you moved in
How DHPs are paid
DHPs are currently paid in the same way as your Housing Benefit.
Payments to help with your rent are sent to you or your landlord along with your Housing Benefit.
New payment arrangements will be made for customers who receive Universal Credit.
How do we decide if we can give you a DHP?
You will need to complete a DHP application form to give us information about your income, outgoings and personal circumstances. This will help us to look at your:
Total household income and outgoings, (e.g. how much money you have coming in, what you spend on bills etc)
Your health and any disabilities
Anyone else in the household that could help
If you could manage your money better
If you have tried to put the situation right yourself
If you have been recently affected by Government welfare benefit reforms
To support the information you tell us in the application form, you must provide supporting documentation as evidence.
How much DHP will I get and for how long?
How much you get depends on your circumstances. We decide each case individually on the information you give us, so it’s important you tell us as much as possible about your financial situation. However we cannot guarantee we will be able to help you.
We usually pay DHP for a limited period of time, depending on your circumstances. This will give you a little extra time to try to renegotiate a lower rent with your landlord, seek financial advice for existing debts, move to a more affordable property, find paid employment or increase your working hours.
If we give you a DHP we will write to you giving details of the amount, how it will be paid and the length of time we will pay it.
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