Discretionary Housing Payments can provide extra financial assistance to meet your housing costs. This could be to meet a shortfall in your rent perhaps due to the effect of Welfare Reforms such as the Benefit Cap or Local Housing Allowance restrictions. It can also help towards a rent deposit or rent in advance if you need to move house and rent arrears if you are facing eviction from your home.
DHP cannot be considered for –
- Ineligible service charges as specified by the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
- Reductions in benefit due to sanctions or overpayments
- An increase in your rent due to arrears
In order to be considered for a Discretionary Housing payment you MUST be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit.
The Discretionary Housing Payment fund is limited and consideration has to be given to who can receive an award in order for us to ensure we are helping households who are experiencing severe financial hardship, or who are at risk of losing their home.
In making a decision we will look at your income and expenditure, so before making a claim please consider the following –
Can I make savings in my spending?
It may be that by making a few adjustments to your spending you can meet your shortfall or start to pay arrears, the DHP fund is not available to support a lifestyle and in making an application we will look at areas where we feel you could make savings, this may be reducing a television package, obtaining a better deal on your utilities or switching supermarkets.
Have I spoke to my landlord?
Often speaking to your landlord can be the right thing to do, if you rent privately and you are a good tenant your landlord may be willing to accept a slight lower rent for a short period of time. All landlords should be willing to discuss with you the option of creating a repayment plan on existing arrears.
What are you doing to increase your income?
If you are looking for work have you considered agency or part-time work whilst you continue your search for full-time employment? If you are already working have you discussed increasing your hours or enquired about overtime. Have you looked into any other benefits you may be entitled to, if you are unable to work have you considered Personal Independence Payments.
Are you in the right property for you?
It may be that you are in a property you may never be able to afford. It can be a difficult decision to accept this but planning ahead for a stable financial future is important. A move to a more suitable property now could give you a healthier financial future. If you are considering moving have you registered with Choose and Move and been to local property agents to discuss your needs.
Is the household contributing?
If you have other adults in the property do they need to increase their contribution, an eviction would affect everyone in the household, and a short term renegotiation of household contributions may allow you to get through a difficult patch.
If you feel that you have considered all of the above and would still benefit from further financial assistance via the Discretionary Housing Benefit fund, please click here to complete an application
Making a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment
If you feel that your circumstances mean that you would benefit from a Discretionary Housing Payment, whether it be a short term award or help with rent arrears and wish to make a claim please submit an application by using the Discretionary Housing Payment Form.
To support your application you must upload evidence to support your application, examples of the evidence required are listed below:
- Proof of your rent payments
- Proof of your rent arrears
- Universal Credit award showing that the Housing Element is included
- Proof of deposit or rent in advance amounts
- Recent bank statements to support your application
Discretionary Housing Payments do not have a formal right of appeal, however if your application is declined you can ask us to reconsider our decision and provide further evidence to support a reconsideration.
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