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 discretionary housing payment (DHP) is an extra payment if you're struggling to pay rent and get either housing benefit or universal credit housing element.

You may be able to get a DHP if your benefits don't cover your rent. For example, because of:

DHPs can also help pay a tenancy deposit or rent in advance for a new home, but only if you're already getting housing benefit or universal credit housing element where you live now.

You can't get a DHP to cover a rent shortfall if your benefits have been reduced because of an overpayment

Make a DHP claim

You apply to the council. You don’t have to repay a DHP.

What the council looks at

Give the council as much information as you can to explain why you need a DHP.

Tell the council:

  • why you need help with your rent
  • what has caused your rent shortfall - for example, you have to pay the bedroom tax
  • if you're at risk of homelessness because of your rent shortfall and rent arrears

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

If your council turns your application down, you can ask them to reconsider if you think the decision is unfair. 

You can also apply for a DHP again. Councils receive new funding for DHPs every financial year. 

Tell the council if you have new information to support your application - for example, if you have a new job and only need a DHP to cover a rent shortfall until you start work.    

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.

Last updated 14 Feb 2020 | © Shelter

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