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Discretionary Housing Payment

What is it?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are payments made by your local council to help with a shortfall in your Housing Benefit or housing costs element of Universal Credit. Examples of where you might be able to get extra help could be:

  • a reduction in your benefits because of under occupation rules (the 'bedroom tax')
  • a reduction in your benefits because of the introduction of the benefit cap
  • a reduction in your benefits following a change to the Local Housing Allowance rates
  • to help because you are affected by a non-dependant deduction
  • to help because you have entered work and your benefits have reduced
  • if you have had a significant change in income, including as a result of the removal of the £20 universal credit uplift - this applies in Northern Ireland only

This list is not exhaustive and you may have other legitimate reasons for applying. 

Can I get it?

The main rule is that you must already be receiving some Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs element. Beyond this it is up to each local authority to decide who to provide help to – guidance states only that you must “appear to the local authority to require some further financial assistance in order to meet housing costs”.

How do I claim?

To make a claim contact your local authority and ask for more details about Discretionary Housing Payment. Each council has their own form. Typically it will ask for details about your household circumstances, why you are unable to meet your rent or Council Tax payments and for details of your income and spending.