A discretionary housing payment (DHP) is a short-term payment from your council to help cover some housing costs. You don't have to repay a DHP.
What is a discretionary housing payment (DHP)?
Councils get an annual pot of money to help people who claim housing benefit who are struggling with housing costs.
DHPs can also cover a tenancy deposit, rent in advance and removal expenses if you decide to move and you are getting housing benefit on your current home.
You can't get a DHP if your rent shortfall is caused by benefit sanction or housing benefit overpayment.
Make a DHP claim
Ask your local council for a claim form, or how to make a claim.
Explain in detail why you are struggling to pay all your rent. Tell the council if you:
- have extra health related expenses or need an extra room because of sickness or disability
- have extra travel costs because you travel to a hospital or you care for a relative or friend
- have been approved as an adopter or a foster carer and you need your spare room for the child when they move in
- have work-related travel costs that would increase if you had to move because of housing benefit changes
- are likely to become homeless
Read Shelter's factsheet on discretionary housing payments.
How the council decides
Your council decides how DHPs are allocated. There isn't a clear set of allocation rules. The council must be fair and reasonable when deciding.
Provide as much information as you can to help the council decide.
DHPs are only paid for a limited period. You may have to reapply at the end of the period. The council may expect you to make longer-term changes in your budgeting or housing situation.
How much can be paid?
Each case is different. You may get enough to cover all your rent or costs or just part of those costs.
DHPs may be paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly or as a lump sum. Payments can be backdated.
If you don't get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
There is no right of appeal if you are turned down for a DHP, but you can ask the council to reconsider its decision.
Get advice about asking the council to change its decision.
Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.