Discretionary housing payments (DHP) can help people in a temporary situation where they need extra help with their housing costs.
To be eligible for a payment you must be claiming housing benefit and we must be satisfied that you are in need of extra financial help.
A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) cannot be paid if the reason for shortfall is that your housing benefit has been reduced to recover an overpayment or because you're other benefits have been reduced, for example, because you left your last job voluntarily.
We will take into account any special circumstances that contribute to your financial difficulties for example, if:
To help us make a decision about your claim, please complete a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) application form.
Discretionary Housing Payments are not guaranteed and you will not automatically get a payment if you have had one previously.
The amount of help that you can get will depend on your circumstances and each request is looked at individually.
Also the length of time that you can receive a Discretionary Housing Payment will depend on your circumstances.
You may be contacted by a member of the benefits team and asked 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.