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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

Introduction

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are additional regular payments to help you pay your rent. We give DHPs to people in receipt of Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance where it is considered that help is needed with their housing costs because they are experiencing severe financial difficulties.

The Government gives the Councils a limited amount of money to pay out each year as DHPs and we cannot spend more than is given.

We cannot give DHPs for the following:

  • service charges not covered by Housing Benefit
  • solely to clear rent arrears
  • to cover deductions made from your Housing Benefit award in respect of an overpayment
  • when your Housing Benefit is suspended
  • rent, if you are only entitled to Council Tax Support
  • if the only benefit you get is Second adult rebate

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How do I apply for a DHP?

Please complete the form below and send it to the Revenues & Benefits Service:

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How do you decide?

We look at the following things when we make a decision:

  • your income
  • your savings
  • whether anyone else in your household can help you
  • whether you have any loans or debts
  • whether you could manage your money better
  • whether you or any family member is ill or disabled
  • whether you have tried to put the situation right yourself

We will ask you for a lot of information and may ask you to come in and see us at Portland House to discuss your claim in more detail. If you do not provide the requested information we cannot consider granting you an award.

We will send you a letter telling you about our decision. If your application is unsuccessful, the reasons for the decision will be included in the letter. If we award you a DHP we will tell you in the letter how much has been awarded and for how long.

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How much can I get and for how long?

This will depend on your circumstances because we look at each case individually. For Housing Benefit, we cannot give you more than your total rent (less amounts for services such as water rates). Due to the limited funds that are available, we can only support you for a limited period.

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Paying DHPs

We will usually include payments with your normal Housing Benefit payments that are sent to you or your landlord.

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Appeal a decision

If you disagree with our decision:

  • not to award a DHP
  • about the amount of the award
  • how long the award will last

You can ask us to look at the decision again. This should be done in writing within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter, telling us why you do not agree with our decision. You cannot appeal to the Tribunals Service about a DHP, but you can appeal to a panel of Councillors.

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What should I do if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change, you must tell us in writing straight away. We will look at your DHP award again to see whether we need to change it. If the change means that we have to reduce your award you might have to pay back some or all of the money that's already been paid to you.

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Where can I get more advice?

Please contact the Customer Service Team if you want more help and advice.

Alternatively, you may be able to get independent advice from Citizens Advice or another welfare rights service.

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