Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are additional payments available to you if you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and we agree that you need extra help to pay your housing costs, such as rent or a rent deposit.

We choose whether or not to award these payments. They are only available as a short-term measure, and you will be expected to take appropriate action to improve your financial situation – this could include finding work or moving to more affordable accommodation.

Apply for a discretionary housing payment

To apply for a please complete our discretionary housing payment application form and send it to our Benefits team using the details below.

How we decide whether to award a discretionary housing payment

We determine Discretionary Housing Payments based on our DHP Policy, taking your circumstances into account.

There are no blanket provisions for including or excluding any relevant factor, whether financial, social or medical.

Once we’ve determined your application we’ll write to you to confirm our decision, including the reasons why we’ve approved or rejected it.

Please note – we do not include Disability Living Allowance (Mobility) or Personal Independence Payment (Mobility) when deciding an application for discretionary housing payment.

What discretionary housing payment cannot be used for

We cannot award discretionary housing payment:

  • if you are not in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • to top up an award made under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • to contribute to the cost of ineligible service charges, for example water rates
  • to help you pay for rent increases imposed as a result of incurring rent arrears
  • to help pay for rent costs resulting from sanctions, or reductions in Housing Benefit or other social security benefits – these include any reduction due to not complying with work related conditions, not meeting child maintenance payments, or breaching a community service order
  • deductions for housing benefit overpayments.

How your discretionary housing payment will be made

If you qualify for DHP, we will pay this along with your Housing Benefit.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, you will be paid every four weeks.

Discretionary housing payments can be paid either to you, your landlord or, in exceptional circumstances, to a third party at your request.

If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is paid direct to your landlord your DHP will be paid this way too.

If you are in arrears with your rent, your DHP will also go directly to your landlord to help secure your tenancy.

Review a discretionary housing payment decision

If we reject your application, or award you less DHP than expected, you can ask us to review our decision – write to or email us within one month of the date on our original decision letter, giving reasons why you disagree with our decision. Our Revenues and Benefit Client Manager will then review your application.

If, following the review, our decision remains the same, you can then ask for your case to be considered by a panel of councillors – you need to request this in writing within one month of the first review, giving reasons why you disagree with our decision. Please send your request to our Benefits team using the contact details below.

If you are still unhappy with our decision you can:

  • If you believe the decision has been made illegally (for example if you believe the decision is irrational, or we incorrectly took, or did not take, something into account) you can ask for a judicial review at the High Court – please ensure you seek legal advice before doing this, as applications to the High Court can be expensive.
  • If you believe the administrative process was unfair when we determined your payment you can make a formal complaint under our Complaints Procedure.