Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) help people who need extra help when their Housing Benefit does not meet the full value of their rent.
The Government has set limits on how much Discretionary Housing Payment can be paid out in any financial year. Additional amounts have been set aside to meet the circumstances of claimants affected by welfare reform who are not quite as able to improve their circumstances through working or increasing their hours of work. DHPs are paid from cash limited fund and are awarded as a short-term measure to help claimants experiencing difficult circumstances.
When we can make a payment
We can only make a Discretionary Housing Payment if we believe that the person's circumstances call for additional financial assistance. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The finances and personal circumstances of the applicant are carefully considered and taken into account.
Examples of circumstances when a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded include:
- If anybody in the household has particular needs associated with disability or ill health.
- If the accommodation has been adapted because of disability.
- If anybody in the household has a caring responsibility and consequential accommodation needs.
- If anybody in the household has a relevant medical need.
- To assist with a move to cheaper property.
- If there is a young child in the household attending school.
- If it is not possible or practical for the claimant to look for alternative accommodation.
The above list only provides examples and does not cover all the circumstances in which a Discretionary Housing Payment is awarded. In the majority of cases payments are normally short term and you will be expected to take action to improve your financial circumstances.
When we cannot award a DHP
This extra payment is not available for the following purposes:
- Council Tax (a separate fund is available for this).
- For water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent.
- To cover any shortfall in Housing Benefit that occurs due to an overpayment being recovered.
- To pay a rent that is clearly excessive.
- Increase in rent due to outstanding rent arrears.
- Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit e.g. to a sanction applied by the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to seeking employment or a counter fraud punishment.
You can make a claim for Discretionary Housing Payment by completing our Discretionary Housing Payments online application form