Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
Extra help towards paying your housing costs
- What are Discretionary Housing Payments?
- Who can claim?
- What can DHPs help with?
- When DHPs will not be given
- How DHPs are paid
- How do we decide if we can give you a DHP?
- How much DHP will I get and for how long?
- Welfare Benefit Reforms
- Change of circumstances
- What happens if I don't agree with your decision?
- Application form
- Further information
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
- Any savings
- 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 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.
If you are requesting a DHP because you are affected by:
- the Benefit Cap
- Social Sector Size Criteria (also know in the media as the bedroom tax)
- changes to Local Housing Allowance
We may refer you to a Welfare Reform Practical Support Hub for help and advice. The staff at the Hub will look at your circumstances and offer:
- employment support
- monetary advice
- support with rent negotiations, and
- other practical assistance
- help with your DHP application
To contact the Haringey Welfare Reform Practical Support Hub directly for help and advice please call 020 8489 8600 if you are a tenant, or 020 8489 1010 if you are a private landlord.
You must let us know straight away if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect your right to DHPs or the amount you receive.
- See the change of circumstances page to tell us of any changes.
If you disagree with:
- our decision not to award you a DHP, or
- the amount you have been awarded, or
- the length of time your award is for
you can ask us to reconsider our decision.
You should write to us within 4 weeks of our decision letter to you, explaining why you do not agree with our decision. A different Officer will review the decision and then write to you.
Unlike Housing Benefit, there is no right of appeal to an independent tribunal.
You can apply using the following form:
- Discretionary Housing Payment if you get Housing Benefit (PDF, 347KB)
- Discretionary Housing Payment if you get Universal Credit with housing costs (PDF, 269KB)
To make a decision on your eligibilty for a DHP you must provide all the evidence we require to support your application. The evidence we require includes:
- your Universal Credit award letter
- your tenancy agreement or proof of the rent you have to pay (if you have rent arrears we also need proof of the amount you have to pay and your repayment arrangement)
- proof you are looking for alternative affordable accommodation (eg landlord letters, bids made on Locata, offers made on Home Swap, properties you have viewed)
- letters from a debt advisory agency or other agency regarding your financial circumstances
- your bank and/or building society account statements covering the last 3 months
- letters confirming job applications and interviews
- proof of income for all your non-dependants
We may also need to request additional evidence if necessary. This includes:
- proof of loans, bills, credit cards
- medical evidence (eg letters from a medical professional or agency)
- any other proof that would support your application and help us decide your eligibility for a DHP
For further information, please see the following document:
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