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?
- Change of circumstances
- What happens if I don't agree with your decision?
- Application forms
- Further information
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are short-term payments to help people with their rent if they are experiencing financial hardship. DHPs can be awarded as a one-off payment or series of payments.
To get a DHP you must be paying rent and be getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.
As DHPs are paid from a limited budget, each request is considered on its own merits. Complete the application form carefully and give us as much relevant information as possible to support your application.
You will only get DHPs if you already get:
- Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs, and
- you have a shortfall between your rent liability and the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you get, and
- we consider that you need additional help to pay your rent
If you do not get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you cannot get a DHP.
DHPs can be awarded to top up Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs where there is a shortfall between the rent you have to pay and the amount you get in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.
The total amount you get cannot be more than the rent you have to pay. You cannot get Housing Benefit, Universal Credit housing costs or DHPs for service charges including, for example, meals, water, gas and electricity.
DHPs can be used to help with shortfalls where, for example:
- You have more bedrooms in the property than your household needs;
- Your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs are reduced because your benefit is capped;
- The rent you pay is considered too high for the property you live in;
- You are single, under 35 years of age and live in a one-bedroom flat or larger property;
- Deductions are made for a non-dependant who lives with you;
- Your income is above the level the Government says you need, but you are still struggling to pay your rent.
DHPs cannot be paid:
- To help pay your Council Tax;
- To cover ineligible service charges included in your rent;
- To cover rent arrears;
- If your Housing Benefit payments have been suspended;
- If we believe you would be able to afford your rent if you prioritised it;
- If you could move to a property where Housing Benefit would cover the rent;
- If you knew Housing Benefit could not cover the rent before you moved in.
Housing Benefit DHPs are included in your Housing Benefit payment and are paid to the person who gets those payments.
Universal Credit DHPs are decided on a case-by-case basis to safeguard your tenancy and can be paid to you or your landlord.
You need to complete a DHP application form to tell us about your income, outgoings and personal circumstances. You need to tell us about:
- Your total household income and outgoings, (e.g. how much money you have coming in, what you spend on bills etc)
- Your bank accounts and capital (including savings, shares, properties, investments)
- 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
You also need to give us proof to support your application.
How much you get depends on your circumstances. However we cannot guarantee we will be able to help you.
We decide each case individually on the information you give us, so it’s important to tell us as much as possible about your financial situation.
We usually pay DHPs for limited periods, depending on your circumstances. This gives you a little extra time to try to:
- renegotiate a lower rent with your landlord
- seek financial and budgeting 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 with details of the amount, how it will be paid and the length of time we will pay it.
You must let us know straight away if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect your right to a DHP or the amount you get.
- 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 what you do not agree with and why. A different Officer will review the decision and write to you.
There is no right of appeal to an independent tribunal.
If you cannot apply online download and print one of the forms below:
- Discretionary Housing Payment - Apply online
- Discretionary Housing Payment if you get Housing Benefit (PDF, 347KB)
- Discretionary Housing Payment if you get Universal Credit with housing costs (PDF, 269KB)
The form tells you where to return it when completed.
You can upload your proof when completing the online application or separately if you don't have it to hand. We may ask you to give us original documents if necessary.
To make a decision on your eligibility for a DHP you must give us all the proof we need, for example:
- 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 (e.g. 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 proof if necessary. This includes:
- proof of loans, bills, credit cards
- medical proof (e.g. letters from a medical professional or agency)
- any other proof that supports your application and helps us decide your eligibility for a DHP
For further information see our DHP policy:
Further advice and information are available on our Housing Advice pages.