Discretionary Housing Payments
Each year local authorities are given a limited amount of money to provide additional help to those people who are having trouble paying their rental shortfall or finding enough money to pay for the start-up costs of a tenancy such as a deposit or rent in advance. Discretionary Housing Payments are paid in addition to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit entitlement.
Who can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?
You can only apply if you are currently entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit and the amount you receive does not cover the full rent, due to a restriction such as:
- benefit cap
- under occupancy
- local housing allowance rate
- income tapers
- non dependant deductions
Or you need additional assistance setting up a new tenancy. These can only be awarded to customers facing the threat of homelessness; and customers seeking to move to cheaper, more affordable accommodation:
- rent in advance
You cannot be considered for a payment if:
- you are already receiving full housing benefit or housing costs
- you do not qualify for housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs
- your rent has been increased to cover arrears
- your shortfall is due to ineligible service charges such as fuel or meals
- your entitlement has been reduced due to benefit sanctions
- your entitlement has been reduced due to recovery of an overpayment
Considering your application
If you want to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment you will need to fill in an application form. You will be asked to provide full details of your household income and expenditure and proof of the amounts declared.
In order to make a decision on your application we will consider whether:
- your expenses are reasonable
- you have any savings
- anyone else in the household is able to help financially
- you have loans or debts and when these are due to end
- you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve your financial difficulties
- your or your family have any special circumstances such as ill health or disability
- your circumstances are likely to change in the future
Discretionary Housing Payments are only intended to meet short-term severe financial hardship. They cannot be relied upon to meet long-term housing costs.
If you are awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment the amount you receive will depend on your individual circumstances. Payments will be made to either you or your landlord if you have rent arrears or we already make direct payment to them.
What to do if you think the decision is wrong
There is no right of appeal to an independent Tribunal. However, if you are unhappy with the decision you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. You can ask for a review if we have refused your award, or we have awarded a reduced amount. You must make this request in writing within 14 days of notification.