Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

Extra help towards paying your housing costs

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

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.

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Who can claim?

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 your rent liability and the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you get, and
  • we consider that you need additional help with your housing costs

If you do not get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you cannot receive a DHP.

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What can DHPs help with?

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.

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When DHPs will not be given

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

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How DHPs are paid

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.

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How do we decide if we can give you a DHP?

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.

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How much DHP will I get and for how long?

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.

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Welfare Benefit Reforms

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.

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Change of circumstances

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.

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What happens if I don’t agree with your decision?

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.

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Application forms

Apply for a DHP online via My Account

If you cannot apply online download and print one of the forms below:

The form tells you where to return it when completed.

Evidence you must provide

It is quicker to give us your evidence online - but we may still ask you to provide original documents if necessary.

Upload your evidence online via My Account

If you cannot give us your evidence online the application form tells you how you can give it to us.

To make a decision on your eligibility 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

Additional evidence

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

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Further information

For further information, please see the following document:

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Page last updated:

9 February 2020

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