Discretionary Housing Payment

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme can give you limited short term help to pay your rent.

It is a short term emergency payment until you can find alternative housing - normally no longer than three months. It should not be considered as a permanent solution to a shortfall in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit award.

Before we can give you a DHP:

  • You can only apply if you already receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • You must require additional help with your housing costs, this means you have a shortfall between your rent and benefit entitlement
  • You must have already spoken with your housing provider about your rent payments
  • We must have sufficient funds available to cover the cost of your DHP.

You cannot use it for:

  • Water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • Sanctions and reductions in benefit
  • Council Tax support through the local Council Tax Reduction scheme.

We take into account:

  • The shortfall between Housing Benefit and the housing component of Universal Credit and the contractual rent.
  • The income and expenditure of you and your household.
  • Any savings or capital held by you or your household.
  • Any steps taken to reduce your rental liability. For example, have you tried or are you actively seeking alternative cheaper accommodation?
  • Any future changes in circumstances that will lead to an increase in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit entitlement.
  • Did you find out what your Local Housing Allowance would be before moving into the property?
  • Were you aware of any restrictions on Housing Benefit as a result of under occupation?
  • Have you applied for all available sources of income available to you?
  • The level of indebtedness and committed expenditure of you and your family.
  • Increase in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit entitlement.

You can get advice on claiming a Discretionary Housing payment by contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau.

How to apply

If you think that you need this extra help, you need to complete a Discretionary Housing Payment application form (opens in new window) and send it us with as much information as possible to help us understand why your circumstances are special. See Discretionary Housing Payments guidance.

Once we have received your form we will contact you to let you know if we require any further information. We may also arrange an interview with you to discuss your request in more detail.