Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payment (Extra help towards paying your rent)

If you claim Universal Credit Cost Element or Housing Benefit but are still struggling to pay all your rent, we might be able to award you a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is a short-term payment award to help cover some of your housing costs.

You can apply for a DHP if you need extra help with your housing costs and:

  • you already receive a housing payment as part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit
  • your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit doesn't cover the full cost of your rent.
  • you are moving to cheaper accommodation and need help paying a bond or advanced rent.

DHPs cannot be awarded for:

  • services that are included in your rent.
  • making up a reduction because you've been overpaid a benefit.
  • Helping you clear other debts.
  • Council Tax.

You don't have an automatic right to a DHP. We process each application on its own merit and consider:

  • your income
  • your expenditure
  • your personal circumstances
  • if you’ve had a DHP before and what you’ve done to improve your financial situation
  • If you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • other adults in your home who could help with rental payments.

We have a limited amount to spend on DHPs each year. Once we've spent this, we can't make any further awards. We therefore must make sure that we only help those who need it most.
A DHP is not a benefit payment, it's a standalone, short-term payment to help you sort out your finances or find a cheaper property.

No-one has a legal right to Discretionary Housing Payments. Any payments made are at the discretion of the Council and are not intended to help you live in a property you cannot afford in your current circumstances.

How long will you pay Discretionary Housing Payments?

Normally for long enough to give you time to find other ways of sorting out your financial difficulties. Generally, this means payments for between three and six months, but we may pay you for a shorter or longer period depending on your circumstances.

Once we end your payments, you can make a claim for a further award. However, there is no guarantee that you will get the extra help, even if your circumstances have not changed.