What are Discretionary Housing Payments and how can they help?

Advice

29.07.16

When times are tough a Discretionary Housing Payment could help you if your housing benefit doesn’t cover your rent.

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What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a payment that can help you if you’re struggling to pay the rent.

A DHP can be made by your council if you already receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit but need further help to cover your housing costs.

As well as paying towards rent, DHPs can also be used for things connected to housing needs, such as removal costs.

 

Why might I get a Discretionary Housing Payment?

In most cases, you will have to demonstrate that you’re unable to meet your housing costs out of your available income. You may also have a shortfall because of welfare reforms such as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, increases in non-dependent deductions, the benefit cap, or any other changes to the benefits system that limit the amount of help you can get towards your housing costs. DHPs can be backdated, too.

 

What won’t Discretionary Housing Payments pay for?

  • Charges in your rent that Housing Benefit can’t cover, such as water rates, personal fuel or alarm systems
  • Extra rent you have to pay because of rent arrears charges
  • If you can’t afford to pay your rent because of benefit sanctions
  • Shortfalls in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs due to overpayment recovery.

 

How long can DHP’s be paid for?

That’s up to the Local Authority. Depending on your circumstances, awards can be indefinite, but generally DHPs are time limited. Think of a Discretionary Housing Payment award as buying you time to get your finances in order so that you can afford to pay your rent. You could do this by dealing with debts, claiming additional benefits, budgeting, looking for more hours at work, or moving in to a more affordable property.

 

What information will I need to supply?

It is up to the Local Authority what information they need from you, but usually you will need to provide details of your income and spending. One of our Benefits and Money Advisors can help you to make the best possible application.

If you need advice, please email benefitsandmoney@isoshousing.co.uk or call us on 0300 300 1505.

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