Discretionary Housing Payments

How to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) 

You will only get a DHP if you already get:

  • Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs, and
  • you have a shortfall between your rent liability and the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you get, and
  • we consider that you need additional help to pay your rent

If you do not get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you cannot get a DHP.

To be considered you need to use our online form.  The form allows you to upload your evidence, you can photograph documents and upload them to the form - please make sure that you use a medium-sized image and that it is readable, otherwise this may delay the outcome of your application.  The form asks you about your monthly income and outgoings so make sure you have these details to hand when completing the form. 

The details on the form together with the details you have already provided when applying for Benefit will be used to consider your application. It is important that you give as much information as you can to help us make a decision. Officers make decisions on applications using Elmbridge Borough Council's Discretionary Housing Policy

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are short-term payments to help people with their rent if they are experiencing financial hardship. DHPs can be awarded as a one-off payment or series of payments.

To get a DHP you must be paying rent and be getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments are extra help for people who receive Housing Benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit who appear to need further help to meet their rent payments. These are not intended to be long term continuing payments; they are awarded on a short term basis while you take action to improve your circumstances.

The most that can be awarded is the difference between the Benefit you are already receiving and your eligible rent charge. If your rent includes an amount for services that are not eligible for Housing Benefit (for example water rates, heating, meals) this amount cannot be met by Discretionary Housing Payments. If your rent has been increased to cover outstanding rent arrears then a Discretionary Housing Payment can't be awarded to meet the increase.

How long is the award for?

Discretionary Housing Payments are strictly limited each year. If a payment is awarded, it will last for a specified period of time (possibly three or six months at the most). Once the period ends you can apply for another Discretionary Housing Payment award and this will be considered. Changes in circumstances can also reduce or end your award early therefore the local authority must be advised of all changes as they occur.

Can I appeal against the decision?

As Discretionary Housing Payments are not Benefit you cannot appeal against any decision made in the same way as you can about Housing Benefit. You do, however, have the right to ask the Council to look at the decision again. If you want your decision to be reviewed you should request this in writing with your reasons. This should be done within one month of the date of the letter telling you about the decision. If your request is later than this it should also contain reasons for the delay in requesting the revision.

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