Discretionary housing payments
The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme helps people who may need further help with their housing costs. This is only if they are claiming housing benefit, local housing allowance or the housing element of universal credit.
We receive limited funds from the government for the DHP scheme. The amount we can spend on the scheme each year is restricted, and we will not award everyone who claims a DHP.
Apply for a DHP
Normally DHPs are given to cover a shortfall between someone’s rent and their benefit or credit award.
DHPs can also help with other costs such as:
- rent in advance
- removal costs if you need to move home
However, DHPs cannot be given to help with:
- 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
You can apply for a DHP when you have both:
- a current entitlement to housing benefit, or the housing element of universal credit
- a shortfall between the amount of benefit or credit you get and your housing costs
When making a decision, we review:
- 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. Then, you will receive a letter telling you the decision. If we award a DHP, the letter will tell you the amount awarded and for what period.
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, which are normally between 3 and 12 months.
You may be able to reapply once a 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 minus any amounts for services like electricity or water.
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 receive universal credit, we will pay you monthly if you pay your rent monthly, and otherwise we will pay you every four weeks. Payments are made in arrears.
If you disagree with the decision not to award a DHP, the amount awarded or its duration, ask for the decision to be reviewed again. To do so, write to the Housing Benefit Section within one calendar month of the decision letter’s date telling us why you do not agree. 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.
If your circumstances change, tell the Housing Benefit Section in writing immediately. Your DHP will then be reviewed 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 repay some or all of the DHP already paid to you.