Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available for claimants housing benefits who need further help with their housing costs.

  • DHP's are not available to help with Council Tax liability
  • DHPs are separate payments that are administered by the Housing Benefit office
  • DHPs are made at the discretion of the local authority

Example

  • the Valuation Office decides the amount of "rent" that the Benefit Officer uses to calculate benefit. The benefit paid may then be lower than the rent shown on the tenancy agreement. If the claimant is suffering due to this Rent Restriction, because the benefit paid is lower than the full rent, the claimant can ask for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to cover the shortfall
  • the Council may increase the rent figure to the full eligible rent where it is satisfied that there is a need for additional help with housing costs
  • if benefit is suspended - a DHP should also not be paid
  • a DHP would not be awarded if you are "sanctioned on JSA"

There are no specific appeal arrangements because DHPs are stand alone discretionary payments, not payments of benefit. However if you disagree with our decision you may ask us to review it.

Other scenarios which may cause shortfall and require a need for additional help

  • restrictions to HB due to the under occupation of social housing
  • where prolonged sickness has caused extra expenditure
  • wages have not been paid due to unforeseen circumstances. Your letter should explain the circumstances which have led to the shortfall you are experiencing
  • restrictions to HB due to the application of the benefit cap
  • restrictions in housing costs within your Universal Credit claim

To claim a Discretionary Housing Payment you need to write to Housing Benefits explaining the reasons for your request.

Housing costs do not include ineligible service charges eg heat, water, meals.

  • The Council may need to know if you have tried to negotiate a rent reduction with the Landlord
  • The Council may need to know if you are looking for a property at a lower cost and why it would be difficult to find suitable cheaper alternative accommodation
  • Before DHPs are awarded the Council must be satisfied that there are no other means of alleviating the shortfall
  • The Council may not necessarily award the full rental amount and any payment would be for a limited period, but could be reapplied for at the end of that period
  • DHPs cannot be given where the claimant is already in receipt of the maximum benefit
  • Each case must be decided on its own special circumstances
  • DHPs cannot be given where there is no actual entitlement to benefit