Discretionary housing payments

A discretionary housing payment (DHP) is money from your council to help if:

  • you're struggling to pay your full rent

  • you do not have enough money for a deposit or rent in advance

You do not have to pay a DHP back.

Who can get DHPs

You need to be getting universal credit housing element or housing benefit.

Reasons you are struggling with rent could include:

Make a DHP claim

Contact your council's discretionary housing payments team

What is your location?

What to tell the council

Give details about:

  • why you need help

  • if you are at risk of homelessness because of the problem

  • what has caused problems - for example, you have to pay the bedroom tax, or have a rent shortfall

DHPs are usually paid for a set time. You can apply for another DHP.

DHPs can help pay a deposit or rent in advance for a new home if you get housing benefit or universal credit housing element where you live now.

You cannot get a DHP before your first universal credit payment if you've just applied for universal credit.

How long to wait for a response

Call or email your council if you have not heard back about your application in 5 to 10 days.

If the council turns you down

You can ask the council to reconsider if you think the decision is unfair.

You can also apply for a DHP again. Councils get new funding for DHPs every April.

Tell the council if you have new supporting information when you make a new application.

This could include:

  • if your income might get better because you have a new job

  • medical evidence which explains why you cannot earn more

You can ask your local councillor for help to apply or if you are turned down.

Find your councillor at GOV.UK.

How much money will you get?

Each case is different.

You may get enough to cover your rent shortfall or costs, or just part of what you need.

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

You cannot generally get DHPs to cover rent arrears or deductions for sanctions or overpayments.

Easy read advice

There is easy read advice about asking for a discretionary housing payment on the Mencap website.

Extra help

Emergency grants, loans and money help

Extra financial help if you claim universal credit

Last updated: 26 April 2022

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help