Can I apply for extra help with my rent on top of my Housing Benefit?

Discretionary Housing Payments

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is not a benefit payment.  It is a separate payment that the Council can make to tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.  Every year, we have a limited amount of money to help residents who need extra financial help to meet their housing costs.

The total weekly amount of any award, including your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs, will not normally be more than your actual eligible rent.

DHPs cannot be paid in respect of ineligible service charges (such as water rates, fuel charges, meals) or Council Tax costs.

Who can claim Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments are available if you are already entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs and the Council is satisfied that you require additional financial assistance to meet your housing costs.

This may be because:

  • You have exceptional additional housing costs (for example due to recent floods)
  • Your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been reduced due to the benefit cap
  • You are a social tenant and deemed to be under occupying your home
  • You are a private tenant and your rent is restricted due to a rent officer decision or the local housing allowance

How to apply:

If you are applying for assistance due to recent floods, please complete the "DHP flood 2015" form.

To apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment for any other reason, please complete the "Application for DHP" form.

What information we need to know:

You must tell us why you think you need extra help to meet your housing costs, please include information such as:

  • Any disabilities or illnesses you or a member of your family may have
  • How your disability or illness may affect you financially (for example, extra costs) or prevent you from moving
  • Income and spending, including debts
  • Any change in your circumstances which makes it more difficult for you to meet the shortfall
  • What would happen if you lost your home; or
  • Any other special circumstances

We may ask to see any reasonable evidence to support your claim.  Please give us all the information which will help your case.

How is it assessed?

We will look at your claim to see if we can make a payment.  We look at each case individually based on each person's circumstances.  We will write to you to tell you whether or not your claim has been successful.

An award may be made for a short period to give a customer time to sort out their financial circumstances.  In any cases where there is no precise period by which the customer's circumstances will improve an award may still be made.  Any award, however, will be made for a period that will not exceed the duration of the financial year in which it is made and may be made for a shorter period.  There is no guarantee that any award made will be renewed at the end of its duration even when the customer's circumstances remain unchanged.  The start and end dates of an award are decided on a case by case basis.

How will it be paid?

We will pay it with your Housing Benefit.  If you are in receipt of Universal Credit housing costs, we will make payments separately.  This may be to you or to your landlord.

What if you disagree with our decision?

You do not have the right of appeal if we turn down your claim but you can ask us to look at the decision again.  This is called a review.

Changes you must tell us about

You must tell us about anything you think might affect your entitlement to Discretionary Housing Payments or your entitlement to Housing Benefit.  You must do this within 1 month of the change taking place.  You must tell us about any changes in writing - a telephone call is not enough.

Further Guidance

The Department for Work and Pensions provide guidance on how a DHP may be used.


Downloadable Documents

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File nameSizeApproximate Download time
Microsoft Word formatApplication for DHP in Word format340 Kb49 secs @ 56k, 1 sec @ 2mb
Microsoft Word formatDHP flood 2015 in Word format136 Kb19 secs @ 56k, 1 sec @ 2mb

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 01900 702702
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Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ