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Extra help with housing costs

Every year, the Council has a limited amount of money to help residents who need extra financial help to meet their housing costs. Discretionary payments can help if somebody is having difficulty paying their rent. People who recieve Housing Benefit or the Housing element of Universal Credit can apply for help.

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is not a benefit payment. 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
  • 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:

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.  

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

How is it assessed?

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.  

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.

If you would like to talk to us about Housing Benefits you can contact us via email or telephone our Customer Services team on 0303 123 1702