Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are payments we can give you if your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element is less than the full amount of your rent.

Unfortunately, we cannot give a DHP to cover the cost of things included in your rent, like fuel, water or food charges.

Discretionary Council Tax Support payments (DCTSPs) are payments we can give you if your Council Tax Support is less than the full amount of your Council Tax bill.

Can I claim a Discretionary payment?

If you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element you can claim a Discretionary Housing Payment to help pay your rent.

If you get Council Tax Support you can claim a Discretionary Council Tax Support Payment to help pay your bill. If you do not get Council Tax Support but did (or would) qualify for Council Tax Benefit then you may also receive help. 

However,  we must be satisfied that you are having difficulties with your finances and need more help with your housing costs.

How do I apply for a Discretionary payment?

If you wish to apply for help towards your rent or help towards your rent and Council Tax, simply fill in our online Discretionary Housing and Council Tax Support Payment claim form.

If you only wish to apply for help towards your Council Tax simply fill in our on line Discretionary Council Tax Support claim form.

How do you decide if I can have a Discretionary payment?

We look at things like:

  • Your total income
  • Whether you have been affected by any Welfare Reform changes
  • Whether you have any savings
  • Whether anyone else in the house is able to help financially
  • Whether you have any loans or debts still to pay
  • Whether you could rearrange your finances to ease the situation
  • Whether you or your family have any special circumstances, like ill health or disability
  • We ask you to give us a lot of information, and if we need more we'll write to you for it
  • We might also ask you to call in to see us if we need to discuss your claim in more detail.

How much can I get and for how long?

How much you get depends on your circumstances, and we look at each case individually. We can pay Discretionary payments for different periods of time. However, there is no guarantee that you will actually get a payment.

How will you pay the payment if my application is successful?

If your application is successful, we will usually pay your Discretionary payments with any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support that you get, although Discretionary payments are not payments of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.

If your application is successful and you are in receipt of Universal Credit your Discretionary payment for help towards your rent will normally be paid direct into your bank account.  Any Discretionary payment for help towards your Council Tax will be sent straight to your Council Tax account.

What if I disagree with the amount or period of the payment of Discretionary Council Tax Support?

If you disagree with our decision, you can:

  • Write to us and ask for a detailed statement as to how we arrived at the decision
  • Write to us asking for the decision to be reconsidered to take into account the reasons why you disagree with the decision.

We will look at your claim again and write to you within two months.

If we do not change the decision in your favour, or after two months, you can appeal online to the Valuation Tribunal.  

You cannot appeal against our actual scheme, only on how we have applied our scheme to your circumstances. 

What if I disagree with the amount or period of the payment of Discretionary Housing Benefit?

If you disagree with our decision, you can:

  • Write to us and ask for a detailed statement as to how we arrived at the decision
  • Write to us asking for the decision to be reconsidered to take into account the reasons why you disagree with our decision
  • Write to us appealing against the decision on a Benefit appeals form explaining the reasons why you disagree with the decision. Make sure that you sign the form. If we cannot change the decision, we will send details of the appeal to the Tribunals Service. The tribunal does not have to look at anything you do not mention.

When you have downloaded and completed a Benefit Appeal form, send it back to us within one calendar month of the date on that letter.

If you ask us for more information after this time, we will still explain the decision to you but we may not be able to look at the decision again if you later decide that it is wrong.

What if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change, you must tell us, in writing, within one month.

We will then look at the Discretionary payment we awarded and see whether it needs to be changed.