Discretionary housing payments are paid from a limited amount of money that central government gives to us every year. We can pay it to people with special financial or personal circumstances which indicate that they need extra help to pay their rent.  We have to consider each case individually and on its own merit. 

A discretionary housing payment is not automatically awarded because your housing benefit does not cover your rent. DHP is not a benefit. It is a separate payment made at our discretion. Payments are usually made for a limited period to assist whilst the claimant seeks a longer-term solution.  This could include obtaining cheaper accommodation, obtaining employment and/or increasing the number of hours worked.

See our discretionary housing payment policy.

Applying for a discretionary housing payment (DHP)

You can only apply if you are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element  Or if you are awaiting a decision on an application for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

When applying, you will need to explain why the payment is needed. Some examples include:

  • financial problems
  • a medical condition
  • the risk of being made homeless
  • impact of changes to benefits  

It is important that all relevant information and evidence is included with your application.

Qualifying for DHP

Examples of some of the factors we take into account:

  • you have unavoidable extra expenses due to short term illness or significant health problems
  • you are having difficulty paying your rent whilst you look for cheaper accommodation
  • the Local Housing Allowance does not cover your full rent
  • your income has reduced due to the benefit cap
  • you are receiving less housing benefit because you are under-occupying your property
  • your choice of housing was beyond your control due to urgency or special needs
  • when you moved into the property you could afford the rent but your circumstances changed and you cannot move until your tenancy ends
  • to help you with short-term rental costs until you are able to secure and move to alternative accommodation
  • to help with on-going rental costs if you are a disabled person in adapted accommodation

The list is a guide only and will not cover all circumstances. Each case is considered on its merits and any of the examples will not guarantee an award.

We also look at other factors such as:

  • if you have savings
  • if anyone in the household can provide financial help
  • if you have other debts
  • have you chosen to rent an over-expensive property without the means to pay your rent
  • if you have tried to re-negotiate the rent with the landlord.

Apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP)