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 24 August 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 £184,869
  • we have agreed future payments of £39,360
  • we have spent and agreed future payments of £224,230   


We have received 738 DHP applications in 2018/19:

  • 593 applications were successful (80%)
  • 145 applications were unsuccessful (20%)


A review happens when a customer is not happy with our decision and asks us to look at it again. We have received eight review applications so far in 2018/19:

  • in two cases (25%), we changed our decision
  • in six cases (75%), we did not change our decision

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  %
 Find work  225  24% 
 Apply for another benefit  140  15%
 Engage with a support service  104  11%
 Prepare for work  102  11%
 Debt advice  86  9%

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
 Application doesn't meet DHP policy criteria   19  13% 
 DHP would not sustain the tenancy (for instance, a landlord does not agree to stop eviction)  17  12% 
 Housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs pay the rent in full  16  11% 
 Customer has no long term plan to reduce their reliance on DHP  13  9%
 Customer is not entitled to DHP because they do not get housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs  13  9% 

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  182  36%
 Housing association  84  17%
 Home Choice  76  15%
 Private rented (not Home Choice)  165  33%

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  216  33%
 Customer affected by bedroom tax  104  21%
 Local housing allowance restrictions  137  27%
 Combination of welfare reforms  1  0%
 Other reasons not related to welfare reform (eg non dependant deductions)  49  10%