Apply for Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can be used to provide support to claimants affected by some of the main welfare reforms, including:
- application of the benefit cap
- removal of the spare room subsidy in the social rented sector
- reductions in Local Housing Allowance
Can I claim?
A DHP may be awarded when the Council considers that a claimant requires further financial assistance towards housing costs and is entitled to either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with a housing cost element towards their rental liability.
The Council has to make tough decisions to ensure that help is targeted appropriately as our budget for these payments is limited. Therefore in deciding whether an award is appropriate the Council will look at your own individual circumstances and will normally consider:
- Whether your circumstances are exceptional;
- Whether your tenancy is realistically sustainable if short term support is provided;
- Whether your situation was avoidable;
- What steps you are taking to reach a long term solution to your problem;
- Are you and your family taking all the appropriate steps to improve your own situation? For example, are you engaging with the appropriate agencies and actively seeking to maximise your income;
- Whether you have means available to help yourself;
- Whether resources may be available to you from another source.
The Council will also consider the latest guidance issued by the Government.
We cannot consider making you an award for any of the following:
- Council Tax – please apply for help through our Council Tax Reduction scheme
- certain sanctions and reductions in benefit
- ineligible service charges included in your rent
- rent that is clearly excessive
- increased rent due to outstanding rent arrears
How much can you get and for how long?
How much you get depends on your circumstances. We look at each application individually. Payments are not designed to provide ongoing or long term support.
We expect you and your family to make every effort to change your circumstances to avoid the need to re-apply for further payments.
How to apply
If you are affected by the Bedroom Tax (officially known as the removal of the spare room subsidy) or the Benefit Cap you will need to apply via our Welfare Reform Team. You can contact them on 020 8547 6702 or at [email protected] for an appointment. The Welfare Reform team will help you put together an action plan to improve your longer term financial position.
If you are not affected by either the Bedroom Tax or the Benefit Cap but are experiencing a shortfall between your housing benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) you can apply for a Discretionary Housing payment.
How will you know if you've been successful?
We will write to you with our decision. Although this scheme is discretionary, if you think that this decision is wrong you can write to this office within a month of this decision letter explaining why. If you wish us to consider any additional evidence you should include it with your letter. A Senior Officer who has not previously dealt with the claim will then review the decision independently.