What is a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)?
A DHP is an additional payment made to you or your landlord by your local council if you are struggling or unable to pay your rent. You could be struggling to cover your rent because of a benefit cap, bedroom tax, or a rent shortfall due to housing rates.
To apply for DHP you already need to be receiving housing benefit or a Universal Credit housing element. You may apply if your universal credit housing element or housing benefit does not cover your rent amount, to assist in paying a tenancy deposit or advance rent for a new home. This payment does not need to be repaid to the council.
If your benefits have been reduced due to an overpayment you will not be able to get a DHP to cover the rent shortfall.
How Soon After Claiming Universal Credit Can You Apply for DHP?
You can apply for DHP after the end of your initial universal credit assessment period. Generally, this is one month after you have made your first universal credit claim.
Requirements to Apply for DHP
When applying for DHP it is best to give the council as much information as to why you require the assistance. In your application include the following information:
- Reason(s) why you need assistance to cover your rent
- Reason(s) for your rent shortfall including a recent loss of income or having to pay bedroom taxes
- Whether you are at risk of homelessness due to the rent shortfall or payment arrears
Remember that the council will verify all the information you provide. It is a legal offence to provide any incorrect or inaccurate information to improve your likelihood of getting or increasing a payment from the council.
DHPs are usually only paid for a limited time period. This means that you might have to reapply for another DHP at the end of the given period.
If your council does not accept your application, you will have the opportunity to request a re-evaluation if you feel the decision is unfair. In the case of a rejected application, you are allowed to re-apply for a DHP every financial year as councils receive new funding. If you have new information to support your application, be sure to inform the council.