Discretionary housing payments

The Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme grants the Local Authority the power to award an additional payment to people in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit who need more help with their housing costs.

It is intended as short term help only to give you the chance to sort out your debts; negotiate a lower rent
with your landlord or to find cheaper suitable alternative accommodation.


1. Am I eligible?

You must be in receipt of some housing benefit or universal credit and:

  • There must be a shortfall between your housing benefit or universal credit and the rent you need to pay, and
  • The amount of discretionary housing payment paid, when added to your housing benefit or universal credit must not be more than your rent, and
  • You cannot afford to pay the shortfall out of your existing budget.

Discretionary housing payments are only for helping with short term problems and are not intended to cover long term situations with your rent.

2. How can I apply?

You must complete an online application for Discretionary Housing Payments.

The quickest way to do this is to register for online services or log into your Online Services account. You must have a council tax account number, or a housing benefit/council tax reduction claim reference number to register your application via our customer portal.

Alternatively if you cannot register for online services you can complete the online application here.

3. What do you take into account when making your decision?

When considering your application the following points will be taken into account:

  • Would a one off payment to support housing costs help to secure or retain an affordable tenancy?
  • Are you at risk of eviction or homelessness if a shortfall in rent is not met and can short term assistance help
    you to stay in your home?
  • How much is the shortfall and what else do you pay out that might make it harder to meet the shortfall in
    your housing costs?
  • What steps are you taking to try to resolve this situation?
  • What other money do you have available that might be used to help meet the shortfall, this includes
    disregarded income or savings?
  • Is it possible to ask the landlord to reduce the rent, or for you to move to cheaper accommodation?
    Can anyone else living in the household help financially towards the shortfall?
  • Are there any health issues to be considered?
  • Can any other services help, such as social services?

4.  How will it be paid?
A discretionary housing payment will be paid with your housing benefit.  The length and amount will be decided from the information you supply and will vary according to your circumstances.  Each case is looked at individually and there is no guarantee you will actually get a payment.

5. What happens if I have a change in my circumstances?

You must tell us about any changes in your circumstances in writing straight away.  This includes any in the amount of rent you have to pay or a change in your income, savings or if anyone leaves or joins your household.

Your discretionary housing payment will be looked at again to see if there is a change to the award.  If the change means your award is reduced this may result in an overpayment. 

You may have to pay back some or all of the overpayment.

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