Discretionary Housing Payment

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is an extra payment if you need help with rent or housing costs. 

Do not apply for DHP for flooring, carpets, furniture, white goods or debts. There are not eligible for DHP consideration.

You must get either Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit to be eligible. DHP cannot be awarded to tie you over until Universal Credit is awarded, you need to ask UC for an advance payment.

DHP can be used to help with:  

Rent shortfalls

The main type of shortfall that DHP can cover are: 

  • a spare room that Housing Benefit will not pay for (bedroom tax

  • your benefit being reduced as there’s a non-dependant in the household 

  • an increase in the size of your family 

  • reductions to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit due to a benefit cap 

  • Local Housing Allowance - you’re only entitled to the rate for a shared room or the maximum rate for 4 bedrooms 

  • any other reason - for example your income is too high to be entitled to full help with your rent 

A DHP for a rent shortfall is normally awarded for 3 months at an initial rate, which will then reduce by 50% for up to 3 months more. You are less likely to receive an award if this is not your first time of applying.

Rent in advance

Council tenants

If you are renting a council property, speak to your housing officer if you need help with the rent in advance.

Only your housing officer can apply for help with rent in advance - do not complete our online form.

Private renting or housing association tenants

If you are moving into a privately rented or housing association property, you can apply for help with rent in advance using our online application form.

Moving costs

You can use a DHP to help with moving costs.  

You need to apply before you move giving us 3 removal quotes so we can decide. You must complete a change of address at the same time as making a DHP application. 

Before awarding a DHP we’ll expect that: 

  • the property is affordable 

  • you have a valid reason to move 

  • the moving costs are reasonable 

The costs we usually cover are the cost of a: 

  • private van hire to move yourself 

  • removal firm to move you 

We do not usually pay DHP for the cost of fuel: 

  • for using your own vehicle to move 

  • used in a private hire van  

Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be used for:
  • rent arrears 

  • Council Tax 

  • service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (gas, electric, water, meals) 

  • increases in rent because you’re in arrears 

  • rent costs when your benefit has been reduced by the Department for Work and Pensions normally because of a sanction 

  • when your rent payment is reduced due to recovering a Housing Benefit overpayment 

  • extra payments you are making to clear rent arrears 

  • a notice period if you have had to move properties at short notice (you may be eligible to claim Housing Benefit on 2 homes) 

  • if you get Universal Credit but not the housing costs element 

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How we decide a claim

We will consider the following when deciding: 

  • your household income 

  • if you have any savings 

  • if you or your family are disabled 

  • if anyone else is living in the property who could help 

  • if there’s any way you can rearrange your finances to improve your situation 

  • if you have any debts 

  • if the household could budget to reduce the shortfall 

  • any other relevant information 

How we’ll tell you about our decision 

We’ll write to you with our decision and the reason for it, usually within 14 days. 

If we approve your application the award letter will tell you the amount awarded and the period it will be paid. 

Awards of DHP are normally made from the Monday following the date of the application. 

If we turn down your application for DHP we will tell you why. 

To apply

Before you apply, you’ll need: 

  • your full income and expenses details 

  • a copy of your Universal Credit award letter if you get Universal Credit 

  • details of any arrears of debts you may have 

  • details of anyone who lives with you including their income 

  • your bank details 

  • details of your new property (if applicable) 

Apply for a DHP

If you disagree with our decision

You need to contact us within one month of the date on the decision letter explaining why you do not agree with our decision. We will then look at the decision again. 

DHPs are not covered by the tribunal service so you cannot appeal to them.