Is your award of the housing element of universal credit, housing benefit or local housing allowance not covering the full cost of your rent?
The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme may be what you are looking for.
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) can provide extra money when your council decides that you need extra help to meet your housing costs.
Your council will look at your circumstances to see whether you are eligible for a DHP. They will decide whether to give you a DHP, how much you will be paid and for how long you will receive the payment.
What is it? - The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme is a limited amount of money that the government allows the council to spend on additional payments of rent to customers with special circumstances, including:
Some people may qualify for longer term support.
What is it for?- It is intended to help customers who are receiving the housing element of universal credit, housing benefit or local housing allowance, but the amount they are receiving does not cover the full rent they are charged.
Can I apply for help with my Council Tax? - You cannot get a DHP to help with council tax, although some councils run similar funds alongside their local Council Tax Support schemes.
Who cannot apply? – There are strict rules governing the administration of the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. You cannot be considered for the payment if:
How can I apply for it? – You will need to complete an application form giving as much detail as you can.
You will need to write down the reasons why you think you should be awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment and answer all the questions on the form. You will need to tell the council which housing cost you require help with.
The application form will ask you why you need extra help and why you cannot manage on your existing income? Be prepared for these questions and think about what you write down. You must be truthful and you really do want the person who considers your application to fully understand and empathise with why you need further help.
You will also need to complete an income and expenditure breakdown showing the income you receive and your outgoings, and provide any appropriate evidence to support your application.
You should identify all of your income and outgoings before you go to your local council office if you intend to request support by going in person. it is very difficult to identify and list down all of your expenditure if you have to do it from memory in front of a council employee who may be trying to hurry you along!
What happens next? – When you have fully completed the form and returned it to your council, they will consider the information you have written down and then contact you to notify you of their decision.
Who pays the Discretionary Housing Payment? – Discretionary Housing Payments are administered by your local Council, and although not part of the benefit scheme, additional help with your rent will be paid in the same way as your housing benefit or local housing allowance. If you are in receipt of universal credit,
Discretionary Housing Payments will be paid separately, as universal credit is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions.
To qualify you must satisfy the council as to your special needs and there must be sufficient funds available. All awards will be for limited periods.
You will need to inform the council if your circumstances change, especially any changes in income or out goings, or if anyone leaves or joins your household.
The BASE adviser team will be happy to answer any questions you have on this matter or any other benefits questions that you need help and support with.
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