Discretionary housing payments (DHP)

A DHP could help if your housing benefit or universal credit doesn't cover the rent.

What is a DHP?

A DHP is an extra payment to help people who claim housing benefit or get the housing element of universal credit and are struggling to pay the rent.

You don’t have to repay a DHP.

Your local council may award you a DHP if your housing benefit or universal credit won’t cover all your rent. For example, this could be because you're affected by the:

You could also get a DHP to help pay a tenancy deposit or rent in advance for a new home, but only if you're already getting housing benefit where you live now.

You can't get a DHP to cover a shortfall if your housing benefit or universal credit has been reduced because of an overpayment.

Make a DHP claim

You'll need to apply to your local council.

Ask for a claim form or for information about how to make a claim.

How the council decides

The council must be fair and reasonable when deciding how DHPs are paid. There isn't a set of rules that covers when councils must pay you or not.

Provide as much information as you can to help the council decide, such as:

  • why you need help with your rent
  • whether you’re in rent arrears
  • who you live with
  • your income and outgoings

DHPs are usually only paid for a limited period. You may have to reapply at the end of the period.

The council may expect you to make changes to your budgeting or housing situation, such as taking up more hours at work or moving somewhere more affordable.

How much can be paid?

Each case is different. You may get enough to cover all the shortfall in your rent or costs or just part of what you have to pay.

DHPs may be paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly or as a lump sum. Payments can be backdated.

Get advice about DHPs

A local adviser may be able to check the council's DHP policy and help you apply.

Search for your nearest Citizens Advice service

Look for a Shelter advice centre near you

Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter

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