Bridgend County Borough Council,Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB

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Discretionary Housing Payments

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme helps people claiming Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or the housing element of Universal Credit who may need further help with their housing costs.

The Council receives limited funds from the Government for the DHP scheme. The amount we can spend on the scheme each year is restricted and not everyone who claims a DHP will be awarded a payment.

What are Discretionary Housing Benefit Payments (DHPs)?

DHPs are additional payments for customers who need more help with their housing costs, normally where there is a shortfall between their rent and their benefit or credit award.

DHPs can also help with other costs such as:

  • Rent deposits;
  • Rent in advance; and
  • Removal costs if you need to move home.

However, DHPs cannot be given for the following:

  • Council Tax
  • Service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit such as heating, lighting, hot water or charges for water rates
  • Increases in the amount of rent you pay because  you are paying back rent arrears
  • Deductions from Housing Benefit due to your Jobseeker’s Allowance being  sanctioned
  • When your Housing Benefit payments are suspended
  • Reduced Housing Benefit due to an overpayment being recovered

Who can claim a DHP?

You can apply for a DHP if you have a current entitlement to Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, and you have a shortfall between the amount of benefit or credit you get and the rent you pay.

To apply for a DHP, you can complete a form which will make sure that you give all the information that is needed. You can request a form in person at the Council, by ringing us on 01656 643396, or you can download a form using the link below.

How do you decide if I can have a DHP?

The following things are looked at when making a decision:

  • Your total income
  • Whether you have any savings
  • Whether anyone else in the house can help financially
  • Whether you have any loans or debts to pay
  • Whether you could rearrange your finances to help your situation
  • Whether you or your family have any special circumstances like ill health or disability
  • Whether you have attempted to remedy the situation yourself

You will be asked for a lot of information and evidence may be required such as bank statements or proof of loans. You may also be asked to call in to discuss your claim in more detail.

Your application will be determined as soon as we have received all the necessary information. You will then receive a letter telling you the decision. If a DHP has been awarded, you will be notified of the amount and the period of the award in the letter.

How much can I get and for how long?

There is no guarantee that you will get a payment and how much you get depends on your circumstances. Each case is looked at individually and can be paid for different periods of time (normally between 3 and 12 months).

You may be able to reapply once the DHP award has expired. Awards may have conditions attached in which case these may be taken into account if there is a reapplication.

For Housing Benefit shortfalls, the amount awarded cannot be more than your total rent, less any amounts for services such as electricity or water.

How will you pay the DHP if my application is successful?

If your application is successful, a DHP is usually paid with any Housing Benefit that you get (although DHPs are not benefit payments). If you are getting Universal Credit, we will pay you monthly if you pay your rent monthly, otherwise we will pay you every 4 weeks. Payments are made in arrears.

What should I do if I disagree with the decision about my DHP application?

If you disagree with the decision not to award a DHP, the amount awarded or the period of the award, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again.

You should write to the Housing Benefit Section within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter telling us why you do not agree with the decision. You are welcome to provide further information to support your request. We will look at the decision again and let you know the outcome.

Please note that you cannot appeal to the Tribunal Service if you disagree with the decision.

What if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change, you must tell the Housing Benefit Section, in writing, straight away. Your DHP will then be looked at again to see if there should be a change to the award.

If the change means that your DHP award is reduced, you might have to pay back some or all of the DHP already paid to you.

Forms and Guidance:

DHP application form


DHP information for people who have a disability:

Disability related income and DHPs

Identifying disability related expenditure

DHP information for people who have a non-dependant:

A non-dependant is an adult who lives in the household on an informal basis. This will usually be an adult son, daughter relative or friend.

Non-dependants and DHPs

Last Updated: 08/03/2016
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