Discretionary housing payments

After receiving housing benefit, if you are still in financial difficulty due to a shortfall between your benefit entitlement and the rent you are charged, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP).

We will look closely at your personal circumstances and your finances, and may make an additional award of benefit if you are suffering hardship. This benefit is paid from a fixed annual fund and is a discretionary payment and is not awarded to everyone who claims it.

We may award a DHP if:

  • your housing benefit is less than your rent because household income is too high to qualify for maximum benefit
  • your housing benefit has been restricted because either
    • your local housing allowance is less than your rent
    • the valuation provided by a rent officer is less than your rent
  • your housing benefit has been reduced because of the number of adults in the household
  • your housing benefit has been capped because the value of all benefits together exceeds £350 per week for a single person or £500 per week for couples or families
  • your housing benefit has been restricted because you have more bedrooms than required and live in a council or housing association property.

(Housing benefit refers to either housing benefit awarded by H&F Council or the housing element of Universal Credit)

We can’t award a DHP:

  • to cover personal service charges (e.g. fuel and water rates) that are included in the rent
  • if the applicant does not already receive either housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • if an existing benefit already covers the rent amount.

How long will we pay you for

We will award you a DHP for a fixed period and never for more than a year. When completing an  application we’ll ask how long the applicant will need extra financial help and what they will do to avoid needing additional payments in the long term.

Who can get a discretionary housing payment?

Other than any situations mentioned above, there are no rules about who can get discretionary housing payments.

We will usually take into account any special circumstances that contribute to your financial difficulties, for example, if:

  • you have to pay child maintenance
  • you have to pay legal costs
  • you have extra heating costs because you spend a lot of time at home because you are sick or have a disability
  • you have extra travel costs because you travel to a doctor or hospital or you care for a relative or friend.

What information should I send with the claim?

You will be asked to give evidence of your expenditure (the money you have going out). This could be a copy of a bill or your bank statements. You should also provide any information about your circumstances that make things difficult for you financially.

For the claimant (and partner, if applicable)

  • latest UC statement OR 9 digit benefits claim reference
  • bank account statements covering the last two consecutive months
  • tenancy agreement (excludes H&F tenants)
  • proof of ID 
  • proof of National Insurance Number

For everyone in the household

  • proof of ID 
  • proof of National Insurance Number (adults only)
  • proof of education status for any full-time students over 16 (if applicable)

Depending on reason(s) for applying we may require

  • rent arrears statement
  • evidence of seeking work
  • evidence of downsizing registration
  • Section 8 notice
  • deposit and rent in advance invoice
  • quotes for moving costs

For further information, please contact the benefits team or fill in the Discretionary Housing Payments form. You will be asked to log in to or register with My Account to access the form.

Apply for DHP

Who can I ask for more help with this?

If you would like to know more please contact the benefits team

Or see the discretionary housing payment policy

For help with benefits appeals see appeals and DHP frequently asked questions

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