Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP’s) may be awarded, in addition to any welfare benefits, when a Local Authority considers that a claimant requires further financial assistance towards housing costs.
In most cases a claimant will need to demonstrate that they are unable to meet housing costs from their available income. The level of payment may cover all or part of a shortfall in rent or assist with the cost of taking up a tenancy.
A claimant who is receiving local council tax support only is not eligible for a DHP. This means a claimant who is receiving local Council Tax Support but has not yet been awarded Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC) is not eligible for a DHP.
The various types of shortfalls that a DHP can cover include (but not limited to):
- reductions in HB or UC where the benefit cap has been applied;
- reductions in HB or UC following the removal of spare room subsidy in the social rented sector;
- reductions in HB or UC as a result of local housing allowance restrictions;
- rent officer restrictions such as local reference rent or shared room rate;
- non-dependant deductions in HB, or housing cost contributions in UC;
- rent shortfalls to prevent a household becoming homeless whilst the housing authority explores alternative options;
- reductions due to income tapers.
What DHP’s cannot cover
There are certain elements of a claimant’s rent that cannot be included in housing costs for the purposes of a DHP because the regulations exclude them.
Excluded elements are:
- ineligible service charges
- increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
- certain sanctions and reductions in benefit.
The Benefits Service