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Housing benefit is not always enough for you to be able to pay your rent.
There is a scheme that can help in difficult situations. It's called discretionary housing payments.
It's not part of the normal housing benefit scheme. As the name suggests, we make payments at our discretion.
There are no rules that give anyone a right to a payment, but we may be able to pay you a DHP if we believe you need extra financial support.
The amount of money which we can spend has been set by the government and is not sufficiently large enough to allow us to make payments to everyone who is likely to apply.
You need to complete a special claim form (available from the documents section) and tell us why you are having difficulty paying your housing costs and why you think we should pay you more than your ordinary housing benefit.
Completed forms should be returned to the address at the bottom of the page.
You may be contacted by a member of the benefits team and we may ask you to attend an interview to get all the information we need to decide on whether you can receive a payment and to discuss your claim in more details. We may ask you to provide some evidence to support your request. This may include:
You should also send us details of the money you have coming in (if we don't already have this as part of your claim) and the expenses you have.
You should claim a discretionary housing payment as soon as you know your ordinary benefit will not be enough for you to pay your rent. If you delay, we may only pay you from the time you make a claim.
You must be entitled to some housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
The amount of housing benefit you get must be less than full benefit. These are the main reasons you may not get full benefit:
In any of these situations, we could pay a discretionary housing payment to make up the shortfall, but only in special circumstances.
If you don't qualify for housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, you can't get a discretionary housing payment towards your rent.
We can't pay discretionary housing payments towards service charges that don't count for housing benefit, things like charges for water, heating or meals.
The following are examples of situations where we might pay discretionary housing payments:
It's a discretionary scheme and there are no rigid rules. If you're not sure whether we would pay you discretionary housing payments, claim anyway and we'll tell you.
The following are examples where we wouldn't usually pay discretionary housing payments:
It's a discretionary scheme and there are no rigid rules. If you're not sure whether we would pay you discretionary housing payments, claim anyway.
A panel consisting of the benefit manager, advice services manager and the head of advice services will look at each case and have the discretion to make payments if they feel that the circumstances of the applicant are such that some extra financial assistance is required. Awards are made for a limited period only and will help the claimant through a particular difficulty.
If we decide to award you a discretionary housing payment, they are paid together with your housing benefit.
You must inform us immediately of any change in your income and circumstances and the income and circumstances of anyone who lives in your household. For example:
It is a criminal offence to obtain monies dishonestly and the council will not hesitate to use its powers to prosecute if necessary.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.