Discretionary housing payment spending and activity

Assessing and spending discretionary housing payments

This page is a snapshot of our discretionary housing payment (DHP) activity on 11 May 2018.

DHP spend

Our DHP grant from the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) in 2018/19 is £405,010. We are allowed to spend extra money on DHP, up to a total limit of two and a half times the DWP's grant:

  • we have spent £49,428
  • we have agreed future payments of £65,630
  • we have spent and agreed future payments of £115,058   


We have received 43 DHP applications in 2018/19:

  • 30 applications were successful (70%)
  • 13 applications were unsuccessful (30%)


A review happens when a customer is not happy with our decision and asks us to look at it again. We have received one review application so far in 2018/19, and we did not change our decision as a result of the review. 

Conditions of DHP awards

As part of their DHP award, we agree with our customers what they can do to improve their financial situation so that they do not need our help in future. We also arrange the support they need to do this. This could include help to find work or to deal with their debts.

Top 5 conditions of DHP awards Applications  %
 Apply for another benefit  13  25% 
 Engage with a support service  7  13%
 Debt advice  7  13%
 Pay towards rent arrears  6  11%
 Find work  6  11%

Reasons for refusing DHP

Usually, the most common reason we turn down DHP applications is because customers don’t have a plan to improve their situation. We make very few DHP awards where customers don’t need to do anything as part of their DHP agreement.

 Top 5 reasons for refusing DHP  Applications
 Unwilling to accept conditions of award   2  15% 
 Housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs pay the rent in full  2  15% 
 Benefit shortfall is due to other income only, such as earnings from work   2  15% 
 Support offered but without DHP  1  8%
 Customer has no long term plan to reduce their reliance on DHP  1  8% 

Tenants who apply for DHP

Oxford is one of the most unaffordable places in England to rent from a private landlord. High rents mean that private tenants are likely to face the benefit cap or other housing benefit shortfalls. 

 Tenancy type  Applications  %
 Council tenant  13  30%
 Housing association  7  16%
 Home Choice  8  19%
 Private rented (not Home Choice)  15  35%

Why tenants apply for DHP

Customers apply for DHP because their housing benefit (or housing element of Universal Credit) doesn't cover their full rent in full. We look at why this is the case.

Reason for application  Applications %
 Customer affected by benefit cap  16  37%
 Customer affected by bedroom tax  5  12%
 Local housing allowance restrictions  14  33%
 Combination of welfare reforms  0  0%
 Other reasons not related to welfare reform (eg non dependant deductions)  8  19%