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Discretionary housing payments

What are discretionary housing payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are payments made at the discretion of the Council to help people who are entitled to, or in receipt of housing benefit and cannot afford to pay their rent costs. The Government gives the Council a limited amount of money to help in these circumstances so we will look at your financial circumstances to decide if you can make up the shortfall in your rent or housing costs.

What can discretionary housing payments be considered for?

Where it is established that you have enough money left over once your priority debts are paid then no help can be given. We will expect you to use this money to keep up to date with your rent.

A DHP can be considered for:

  • Rent in advance or Deposit or Bond. We can help you where you are currently in a property that you cannot afford and need to move to a more affordable property.
  • A shortfall between a customer's Housing Benefit and their contractual rent
  • Those affected by the size criteria in the social rented sector. This will depend on your individual circumstances. Just because you are affected by the changes does not mean that we can automatically help you.
  • Those affected by the Local Housing Allowance reforms.
  • Those affected by the Benefit Cap.

If you have been affected by changes to the Benefit Cap you can claim a DHP

The award will only be for a limited period of six weeks. Awards will only be made above the first £30 of your rent shortfall. This means that if your reduction in Housing Benefit is less than £30 per week you will not be awarded a DHP. If your reduction in Housing Benefit is more than £30 per week you will need to pay the first £30 of your rent to your landlord straight away. 

How do I apply for discretionary housing payments?

Applications should be made online, or assisted telephone claims can be made by telephoning the Discretionary Housing Payment team.

The Discretionary Housing Payment Grant operates within the boundaries of the Council's policy.

Local Housing Allowance

If you are renting from a private landlord then the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will apply to you.

The LHA is based on a set area where the claimant lives, the number of occupiers in the property and their ages.

The LHA that is used to work out your benefit will depend on how many people are in your household.

Allow one bedroom for *:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child (under 16)

We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom

*  Single claimants under 35 years old will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate of LHA.

Single claimants over 35 years old and couples with no dependent children will be entitled to the 1 bedroom rate of LHA, providing they have exclusive use of a property of at least that size.

For example, an adult couple with one child would need 1 bedroom for the couple, and 1 bedroom for the child. We would use the 2 bedroom LHA level to work out their benefit.

Local Housing Allowance rates

The Local Housing Allowance rates for 2016 are: 

  • Shared Room Rate: £65.65
  • One Bed Rate: £92.05
  • Two Bed Rate: £111.48
  • Three Bed Rate: £128.19
  • Four Bed Rate: £170.67

Discretionary housing payments

Mon, Wed & Thurs: 9.00am-4.30pm, Tues: 10.00am-4.30pm, Fri: 9.00am-4.00pm


Tel: 024 7683 2727

Customer Service Centre
3 Upper Precinct

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