Discretionary Housing Payments

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments are payments made by your local authority to help with a shortfall between your housing benefit/housing element of Universal Credit and your eligible rent. They are also awarded to assist you to clear arrears.

The funds are limited and therefore prioritised for the most vulnerable members of the community who have been able to show that they are experiencing exceptional hardship.

How Do I Apply?

This will vary depending upon your local authority. Some local authorities require a paper application to be submitted and some have an electronic form that you can access via their website.

Our Welfare Team can assist you to make applications either online or through the post and can obtain application forms for you. Please contact us on 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.

Am I Eligible?

Discretionary Housing Payments can only be made if you have an existing claim for housing benefit/housing element of Universal Credit. You must be able to demonstrate that you are unable to meet your housing costs from your available income. Your local authority may require evidence to support your claim such as copies of benefit letters or bank statements and you will need to provide details of your income and expenditure.

What Does DHP Cover?

Payments may be awarded to top up your rent if you are deemed to be under-occupying your property (bedroom tax), if you are in employment on a low wage or if you have been affected by the benefit cap. If you are trying to downsize but cannot due to arrears, your local authority may make a payment to assist you. Please note these are only for example purposes and payments are not limited to these situations. Providing you can demonstrate your inability to pay, your local authority has the discretion to make an award to help you to sustain your tenancy.

Payments may be awarded for arrears or to top up your benefit going into the future. Awards may be made for any length of time and your local authority will consider whether it is appropriate to provide DHP on an ongoing basis.

Can I Appeal?

Because payments are discretionary there is no right of appeal unless you think that your local authority has been unlawful in coming to their decision. In these circumstances you may take your complaint to the High Court for judicial review. If you have been denied a payment or are unhappy with the amount awarded, you can request that your local authority reconsider their decision. You may have to provide more supporting evidence for your application. Our Welfare Team can assist you with applications to reconsider a decision. Please contact us on 0300 304 5000 or email the Welfare Team.

Frequently Asked Questions

A useful selection of Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Discretionary Housing Payments Frequently Asked Questions page.


Further Information

For more information about payments or further details about how to apply, please contact your local authority.

Alternatively please email the Welfare Team or telephone 0300 304 5000.