Discretionary Housing Payments

What are Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)?

Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) are extra payments to help people pay their rent. We give DHPs to people receiving Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit who need more help with their housing costs.

DHPs are paid in addition to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit entitlement. As discretionary housing payments are not payments of benefit, we are able to decide who to give this extra help to, and how much to give.

The amount we can spend on discretionary housing payments is limited. Once this money has been used up we will not be able to give extra payments

Who can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?

You can only apply for a DHP if you are currently entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit. There are no set circumstances, but you will need to prove that you are in need of further help.

How much could you get and for how long?

How much we can give you depends on your circumstances. We look at each case individually. Discretionary housing payments are normally paid on a temporary basis and can start and stop at any time during your claim. We cannot guarantee that you will definitely receive payment.

If your rent includes service charges such as electric or water, the DHP cannot be used to cover this. The DHP can only be used for your eligible rent charge.

We will usually pay the discretionary housing payment with any Housing Benefit you get, although this is not a benefit payment.

How we decide if you can have a Discretionary Housing Payment

If you want to apply for a DHP you will need to fill in an application form. The form will allow you to write down the reasons why you think you need extra help. You will also need to fill in a form to show the money you have coming in and the money you spend.

We look at the following when we make a decision:

  • your income;
  • your savings;
  • if anyone else in your house can help you;
  • if you have any loans or debts;
  • if you could manage your money better;
  • if you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled; and
  • if you have tried to put the situation right.

We will ask you for a lot of information and may ask you to come and see us to discuss your claim in more detail.

We will send you a letter telling you our decision and our reasons for that decision.

If you disagree with the decision

If you disagree with our decision not to give you a discretionary housing payment, the amount we have decided to give you or how long we will give you a DHP for, you can ask us to look at the decision again.

You should write to us within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter, telling us why you do not agree with our decision.

You cannot appeal to the Tribunals Service if you disagree with our decision not to pay you a discretionary housing payment.