Discretionary housing payments (DHP)

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 on housing benefit who are struggling with housing costs.

You can get a DHP to help with costs including a rent shortfall. Consider applying if your rent shortfall is caused by the bedroom tax or benefit cap or other reduction in housing benefit.

DHPs can also cover a tenancy deposit, rent in advance and removal expenses if you decide to move.

You can't get a DHP if your rent shortfall is caused by benefit suspension 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 with 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
  • your work-related travel costs increased if you moved because of housing benefit changes
  • you are likely to become homeless

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 short periods. 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 or can be a lump sum. Payments can be backdated.

If you don't get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

There is no right of appeal, but you can ask the council to reconsider its decision.

Get advice from a local advice centre.

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