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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) help people who need extra help when their Housing Benefit does not meet the full value of their rent.
The Government has set limits on how much Discretionary Housing Payment can be paid out in any financial year. Additional amounts have been set aside to meet the circumstances of claimants affected by welfare reform who are not quite as able to improve their circumstances through working or increasing their hours of work. DHPs are paid from cash limited fund and are awarded as a short-term measure to help claimants experiencing difficult circumstances.
When we can make a payment
We can only make a Discretionary Housing Payment if we believe that the person's circumstances call for additional financial assistance. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The finances and personal circumstances of the applicant are carefully considered and taken into account.
Examples of circumstances when a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded include:
- If anybody in the household has particular needs associated with disability or ill health.
- If the accommodation has been adapted because of disability.
- If anybody in the household has a caring responsibility and consequential accommodation needs.
- If anybody in the household has a relevant medical need.
- To assist with a move to cheaper property.
- If there is a young child in the household attending school.
- If it is not possible or practical for the claimant to look for alternative accommodation.
The above list only provides examples and does not cover all the circumstances in which a Discretionary Housing Payment is awarded. In the majority of cases payments are normally short term and you will be expected to take action to improve your financial circumstances.
When we cannot award a DHP
This extra payment is not available for the following purposes:
- Council Tax (a separate fund is available for this).
- For water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent.
- To cover any shortfall in Housing Benefit that occurs due to an overpayment being recovered.
- To pay a rent that is clearly excessive.
- Increase in rent due to outstanding rent arrears.
- Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit e.g. to a sanction applied by the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to seeking employment or a counter fraud punishment.
You can make a claim for Discretionary Housing Payment by completing our Discretionary Housing Payments online application form
Deposits, rent in advance and removal costs
We can consider assistance with deposits and rent in advance if this means that you can move to an affordable home. You will be required to provide proof of your property move and the funds requested. Please be advised that this is not a guaranteed assistance and you must be in receipt of local authority housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit at the time of your expected move.
Some social housing landlords do offer financial incentives for people who wish to move and downsize their properties. In line with this DHP can be considered to help you with removal costs to your new property even if this is out of the area.
It is important that you liaise with your landlord by visiting the Landlord websites and speaking to your housing officer to discuss your options.
When awarding a DHP for a rent deposit or rent in advance we will need to be satisfied
- That your intended property is affordable
- There is a valid reason to move home
- The deposit and/or rent in advance costs are reasonable
Please Note: We will require the following information to be provided within 14 days of submitting this application:
- A letter from your intended Landlord/Letting Agent to confirm that you will be offered the property, the total amount required and the bank details for payment to be made directly.
- Your most recent bank statement s for ALL accounts you currently hold
- Your most recent Universal Credit Breakdown (if applicable)
- At least 2 quotes from removal companies if you are requesting assistance with removal costs
You can made a claim for deposits, rent in advance and removal costs by completing our Deposits, Rent in Advance and Removal Costs on line application form