Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payment is a discretionary payment local councils have the power to award to individuals who need extra financial support to deal with housing costs. These costs could include paying your rent or perhaps a contribution towards a tenancy deposit. The benefit is only available to those who are already claiming Housing Benefit or the Housing Cost element of Universal Credit.

Basic eligibility

You must be claiming Housing Benefit or the Housing element of Universal Credit in order to claim Discretionary Housing Payment. Any other income or capital you may have which could impact your eligibility will be handled by your local authority.

How much will I get?

This is decided at local authority level. The amount you will get will be based upon your own individual needs and will be assessed by your local council. Each council has a limited annual fund from which to draw from.

How do I apply?

You need to contact your local council – either by phone or by writing to them.

Typically you will need to supply the following supporting documentary evidence…

  • Payslips
  • Bank Statements
  • Credit Card Statements
  • Any medical evidence

You should inform your local council as to why you need the money and if you are at risk of being made homeless if you do not receive financial support. It should be noted you cannot get a DHP before you get your first Universal Credit payment.

You must report any change of circumstances that could impact your right to claim.

How will I get paid the money?

Council tenants will get the money into their rent account. Private tenants will get it in the same way they receive Housing Benefit. Those on Universal Credit will get the money direct to them or their landlord.

Impact on other benefits

Discretionary Housing Payment is not counted as income when applying for other means-tested benefits and does not count towards the Benefits Cap.

What if I am turned down?

You can appeal a decision if the council refuse your application, particularly if you have new supporting evidence to support your claim. You can also make more than one claim if the first one is not successful – Councils get allocated new funding for DHP to distrbiute every April.