Apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)
What are Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)?
DHPs provides further financial assistance, in addition to any Housing Benefit/ housing element that you may be getting. You must be getting Housing Benefit or the Housing element within Universal Credit to be able to receive a DHP, and a shortfall must exist between the rental liability and the Housing Benefit, we cannot exceed the total rent due. We cannot help with some parts of your rent, for instance if meals, heating, lighting, hot water or water rates.
The DHP fund is cash-limited, we cannot guarantee an award.
What types of assistance can we give?
- Help with your rent where there is a shortfall between that and the amount being paid through Housing Benefit or the housing element in your Universal Credit.
- Other lump sum housing costs such as removal costs
- Help where you have a Benefit cap applied to either your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Due to the demand of the Discretionary Housing budget, we are no longer able to accept applications for Rent in Advance. We may at times accept an application if under exceptional circumstances or if agreed in conjunction with our Housing Advice & Homeless Prevention team.
What DHP’s cannot cover?
- Service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
- Shortfalls caused by Housing Benefit overpayment recovery
- Repayments of Universal Credit advance payments
- When Housing Benefit payments are suspended
- Certain sanctions or reductions in entitlement
- Council Tax
How do you decide if I can have a DHP?
We look at the following things when we make a decision:
- Your income
- Your savings
- If anyone else 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
- If you have tried to put the situation right yourself
We will ask you for a lot of information and may contact you to discuss your claim in more detail. You may be required to attend a money advisory service meeting - or speak with our housing advice team.
We take into consideration all the income and savings you have and compare this against your outgoings. We will try to make a decision within 4 weeks from receipt of the questionnaire and we will notify you in writing of the outcome.
How much can I get?
How much we give you will depend on your circumstances. We look at each case individually. However, we cannot guarantee a payment.
What should I do if I disagree with your decision?
If you disagree with our decision not to award a DHP, 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 1 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.
If you have are finding it hard to meet all of your financial commitments, you should seek independent advice as soon as possible. You can contact the following for advice:
- Age Concern helpline - telephone: 0800 055 6112
- Citizens UK Bureau - telephone: 0345 404 0506
- Money Advice - telephone: 0800 138 7777
- National Debtline - telephone: 0808 808 4000
- StepChange Debt Charity - telephone: 0800 138 1111
If you are at risk of becoming homeless or you are worried about your housing situation, it is important to act as soon as possible. Call our housing advice team Housing Advice Team on 01954 713 000 to book an appointment.
Our Housing Advisers will be able to advise you on your housing options and legal rights if you have any. They will try to prevent you from becoming homeless wherever possible. However, for some people it may be necessary to make a homeless application.
How to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment
To help us decide whether you could get more help please fill in the online form below. If you need help to fill in this form please contact 01954 713 000.
Give as much information as possible. If you have any proof to support your reasons for applying, for example, medical certificates or doctors letters, upload them onto the online form.
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