Discretionary Housing Payment

If you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, and are struggling to pay a shortfall in your rent (or you need a deposit to secure a tenancy), you may be able to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to help you for a short period of time.

We take into account the circumstances and, in particular, the effect a shortfall in benefit would have on you and your family. Your application will be assessed and you are informed of our decision in writing.

How to claim

You can apply for DHP by -

  • printing and completing an application form
  • to make a claim for rent in advance print and complete the below application form
  • telephoning our call centre on 01482 300 303  to request a DHP application form and one will be posted to you
  • visiting one of our customer service centres or information points. You can also ask for assistance to complete the form

Find your nearest customer service centre or information point

Who can claim

You can claim if -

  • you have unavoidable extra expenses because of special circumstances, such as disabilities, health problems or urgent debts
  • you have difficulty paying rent, while you are trying to find a cheaper property
  • there are special reasons why you need to stay in a particular property

You can not claim for -

  • any part of your rent that is for services and not eligible for Housing Benefit (for example water rates, heating, meals)
  • increases to rent to collect outstanding arrears
  • loss of income if a claim for jobseekers allowance or income support has been suspended or you have had a sanction on your claim
  • a shortfall caused by the recovery of overpaid housing benefit

How you are awarded

There is no fixed rate. The maximum we can award is the difference between the Housing Benefit you are already receiving and your eligible rent charge. 

Duration of payments

DHPs are normally made for a short period, depending on your circumstances. You can apply for another award when the first has run out.

Council Tax

You can no longer receive a DHP in respect of council tax. Alternatively you can apply for a discretionary reduction on the grounds of exceptional grave hardship.

For more information visit Council Tax discretionary reduction  


If you would like to know how much benefit you may be able to receive or help with budgeting, visit our benefit calculator and budgeting tools