Background to discretionary housing payments

About discretionary housing payments

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a short-term payment you can apply for if you claim housing benefit or Universal Credit and cannot afford to pay your rent.

These payments are not designed to be a source of long-term income and it is important to us that we help you to avoid needing this payment in the future.

Our Welfare Reform Team issue these payments. When we award a DHP, we expect you to take some actions to help to improve your situation with our support and will talk to you about what these actions could be. This could include finding work, work coaching, debt advice, or finding more affordable accommodation.

If your award is successful, we will pay your DHP with your housing benefit. If you get Universal Credit, we will arrange separate payment of any DHP award.

What we cannot pay for 

  • To top up an award made under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • To contribute to the cost of ineligible service charges
  • To assist in paying for rent increases imposed as a result of incurring rent arrears
  • To assist in paying for rent costs which arise from the imposition of sanctions or reductions in housing benefit. These include any reduction made as a result of not complying with work related conditionality, or in arranging maintenance as directed by the Child Support Agency, or breaching a community service order.
  • We cannot pay for deductions for housing benefit overpayments

What we are unlikely to pay for 

  • Assistance with moving costs, rent in advance, and deposits (unless moving to more affordable accommodation)
  • Shortfalls caused by a non-dependent deduction
  • Where a DHP is requested for a backdated period
  • Where capital in excess of £6,000 is held for people of working age, or £10,000 for those of pensionable age
  • Where the tenancy was not affordable when it was taken on
  • Where applicants have not taken steps to reduce or remove their need for DHP, and/or state the period of time they require the DHP
  • Where multiple family units or households are living in one property, and another household could be expected to make additional contributions to the rent
  • Where fraud has been admitted or proven in relation to claims for housing benefit, council tax benefit, Council Tax Reduction Scheme or DHPs

Our DHP policy

Discretionary Housing Payment Policy (PDF) 

Assessing and spending DHPs 

We provide a monthly performance snapshot of how we are assessing and spending DHP now.