Discretionary housing payments (DHP)
We can award a discretionary housing payment (DHP) if you need extra help with your 'housing costs'. DHPs are not classified as Housing Benefit. However you must be in receipt of Housing Benefit to be able to claim.
DHPs can be awarded to top up Housing Benefit. A DHP claim can be made when there is a difference between the amount you are charged and the amount you have to pay after benefit has been awarded. However, the total amount cannot be more than your rent liability. The Housing Benefit may not match your rent liability for a number of reasons, for example:
- the average rent for a suitable sized property in your area is less than the rent you are being charged the property you are renting is too big for your need
- the rent is considered too high for the property
- the person claiming is single, under 35 years of age and is not living in a room in a shared house
- benefit is being reduced because there is a non-dependant in the household
- your income is above the amount the government says you need to live on
- your benefit has been capped
- we can sometimes help with deposits or rent in advance
We cannot award a DHP if the shortfall is because your rent includes water rates, support charges or heating lighting or hot water. These amounts are not eligible for help from Housing Benefit.
Who will we help
The money we have available is limited so sometimes we will have to make difficult decisions We are more likely to help if the need for the DHP will be limited in time, for example to allow some time for you to move to cheaper more affordable accommodation or to support you whilst you are applying for a job.
Other examples where we are more likely to make an award include
- Where there is a safeguarding issue and family members must not share
- Where a property has been adapted to meet a disabled person's needs
Why we might not award a DHP even though there is a shortfall
- If we believe that by prioritising your housing costs you could afford the rent
- If you could reduce the hardship by moving to a property where Housing Benefit would meet all the rent
- If you knew that Housing Benefit would not meet the rent before you moved in
- If you are refusing to look for work
If you disagree with the decision about your DHP application you can ask for it to be looked at again. However because DHPs are not Housing Benefit there is no right of appeal to the independent tribunal.
How to claim
To claim a DHP you can download an application form, as shown on the link at the top right of this page, or you can request a form by phone, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at Burnt Oak Library or at Barnet House.