Discretionary Housing Payment

What is a Discretionary Housing Payment? (DHP)

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are payments to help people with their housing costs when their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payments still leave them with a shortfall to pay. Awards made are in addition to any Housing Benefit/Universal Credit entitlement. We only have a certain amount of money to spend on these payments, so the application form will help us to decide if a DHP can be made to you.

What can Discretionary Housing Payments cover?

A DHP can cover a shortfall in entitlement because;

  • you are living in a property larger than required for your household size
  • your rent has been restricted by the Rent Officer or a Local Housing Allowance rate
  • your income is higher than your applicable amount
  • you are subject to the benefit cap
  • you need extra financial help with your ongoing rent situation

A payment can also be made to cover rent in advance or a deposit to help you more to a more affordable property

If you are over-accommodated and have extra bedrooms, we expect you to be working with Housing Options team to try and move to a property more suited to you or your family's needs before we can consider extra help. If there are other adults living in the property, we would expect them to contribute towards the shortfall in rent.

Discretionary Housing payments cannot cover

  • service charges that do not qualify for Housing Benefit, such as fuel, water or food.
  • increases in rent due to rent arrears
  • benefit that has been suspended because you have failed to supply the information necessary for your claim
  • any reduction in benefit as a result of non-attendance at a work-focused interview
  • a Job Seekers Allowance employment sanction or failure to comply with the Child Support Agency in arranging maintenance
  • an weekly deduction taken from your entitlement to repay an overpayment

Who can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?

To be eligible for a DHP, you must be receiving Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit, and you must provide proof of your income and expenditure. If you do not provide supporting evidence, your application may be refused.

If you are getting Council Tax Support but do not get Housing Benefit/Universal Credit you will not be able to get assistance with your rent costs. You will not be able to get a DHP if you are already getting full benefit.

How will the payments be made?

We will make the payment into your bank account or direct to your landlord.

How long do payments last?

There is no specific length of time for an award, normally payments are for up to 13 weeks, but this may change depending on your circumstances. During this time it is important that you try and improve your situation yourself. We will support you and give advice on what actions you can take to support yourself as well as signposting possible grants, schemes and budgeting advice that may be of assistance to you. Each case will be treated strictly on its merits and we will assess all applications fairly.

If you are not happy with our decision

We will write and tell you the decision of your application for a DHP. If you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to explain the decision in more detail at any time. If you are not happy with our explanation or if you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at the decision again. You must do this in writing, within one month of the date of the decision and your letter must say why you do not agree with the decision.

The application will then be reviewed by a different Welfare and Assessment officer, who will make a final decision. We will write to you within 14 days of the date we received your letter to let you know our final decision.

There is no further right of appeal against our final decision.

How can I apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?

To apply for this you will need to complete an online DHP application form and provide proof of your income and expenses, including a rent statement and details of any payment plans you have arranged. Click here to apply online and you can send supporting evidence via email to benefits@sstaffs.gov.uk or by post to the Council Offices. Please answer the questions as fully as you can. The more information you give us, the better we will be able to understand your circumstances and your need for extra financial help. Funds for DHPs are limited, so not all applications will be successful. If the application is from someone acting on your behalf, please make this clear on the form.

If you are unable to access the claim online, please ring 01902 696668 for advice.

Our Discretionary Housing Payments Policy can be found below.

You can also find Independent financial advice on the following websites:

Money Advice Service

Step Change Debt Charity

Advice UK

Citizens Advice

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