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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are made to help people already in receipt of some housing benefit get a top-up because they cannot afford their entire rental shortfall.

They are not benefit payments, they are standalone payments made at the discretion of your local authority, subject to an annual cash limit, where the claimant appears to them to require some further financial assistance in order to meet their housing costs.

Each year the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) gives local authorities a pot of money which can only be used for DHPs. Each local authority can top this up if they wish from their own resources. The pot is therefore limited and each local authority has to manage its own annual budget.

The claimant must be entitled to the minimum amount of housing benefit (i.e. 50p a week), and there must be a shortfall between their benefit entitlement and their rent liability.

What can a DHP be claimed for?

A DHP can be claimed where the claimant has a rental shortfall they cannot afford (e.g. where there is a non-dependant who is not contributing to the rent but is incurring a non-dependant deduction).

How do I claim a DHP?

To apply for DHP please contact your local authority Housing Benefit department directly as application processes differ from one local authority to another. Claimants who are refused will not be able to appeal to an independent tribunal, but there is however an internal review system.

Priority will be given to:

  • families with children at a critical point in their education
  • young people leaving local authority care
  • foster carers and staying-put carers with children in care and care leavers respectively
  • families with a Social Service intervention (e.g. highly dependant adults, children at risk, or involvement in a family intervention project)
  • ex-homeless people being supported to settle in the community
  • people with health or medical problems who need access to local medical services or support that might not be available elsewhere
  • people with disabilities who need adaptations to their property
  • the frail elderly who have lived in the area for a long time and would find it difficult to establish support networks in a new area

What can a DHP not be claimed for?

A DHP cannot cover:

  • a shortfall due to recovery of an overpayment
  • extra rental payments to cover arrears
  • ineligible service charges,
  • reductions in housing benefit due to sanctions

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