What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments are payments that can be made in addition to main Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if housing costs are paid. These payments can be made in some circumstances to help tenants who are experiencing financial hardship and need extra short term financial help with their rent. The fund to make these payments is limited and demand often exceeds the available fund each year. 

Who can get a Discretionary Housing Payment?

  • Discretionary Housing Payments can only be used to assist with charges covered by Housing Benefit, or rent costs paid within Universal Credit
  • you must be in receipt of some Housing Benefit, or Universal Credit with rent costs and
  • there must be a shortfall between your Housing Benefit, or rent costs within your Universal Credit and your rent, that you cannot afford to pay out of your existing budget

Examples of circumstances when a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded are:

  • if you have extra expenses due to special circumstances; for example health matters relating to care or disability
  • if your Housing Benefit has been reduced because you have been in hospital for more than 52 weeks
  • if there are special reasons why you need to stay in a particular property
  • in some exceptional cases an award can be made to help with moving costs to an affordable and suitably sized property

When we can't make a Discretionary Housing Payment

You can't get this extra help to pay for:

  • Council Tax
  • water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent
  • an overpayment being recovered from Housing Benefit
  • rent that is clearly excessive
  • when a tenant and their household are able to re-budget and meet the rental liability

Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment

Complete the Discretionary Housing Payment form giving as much information as possible, to help us understand why your circumstances are special.

You will need to supply proof of any debts or loans that impact on your ability to pay your rent and evidence to support the special circumstances you have told us about.

Submit your evidence online

How are Discretionary Housing Payments paid?

Any Discretionary Housing Payment awarded will be paid with your Housing Benefit, either to you or direct to your Landlord.

It is usually paid for a fixed period, after which you will have to apply again.