Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are payments that may be made in addition to a housing benefit award or housing element, awarded as part of Universal Credit (UC).

  • Each DHP application is considered in reference to the governing regulations, and our Policy concerning their administration (if you require a copy of the Policy, please see the foot of this page).
  • Each DHP is considered on its own merit and circumstances and, in particular, the effect the shortfall in housing benefit or housing element would have on the claimant and their family.
  • If you are entitled to some housing benefit or housing element but had your entitlement reduced because of a rent restriction, you may be able to claim to increase the maximum rent, on the grounds of financial hardship.
  • You may also apply to increase the amount of your entitlement after it has been calculated if your circumstances are considered exceptional. This can increase the weekly amount of housing benefit in payment.

There is a fixed amount available for discretionary housing payments for each council and payments may only be made up to this permitted level

Awards of housing benefit or the housing element of UC may not always cover the full rent you need to pay. So, if you receive housing benefit or the housing element of UC, you are struggling to make ends meet and in need of temporary help, we may be able to provide extra money. Please note that if an award is made, is will most likely be for a limited time.

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) claims

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 whilst you are trying to find a suitable cheaper property.
  • There are special reasons why you need to stay in a particular property, but the rent officer has restricted the amount of rent we use when we work out your benefit.

How much will you get?

  • There is no fixed rate for such payments.
  • The maximum we can award is the difference between the housing benefit you are already receiving and your eligible rent charge.
  • The amount awarded is based on your individual circumstances, so may be less than the difference. 


Apply for discretionary housing payments

Important: Evidence to Support a DHP Application: The DHP application form requests evidence be submitted to support the application. A DHP is considered upon receipt of a completed application form and evidence to support that application. If supporting evidence is not provided the application may be rejected. 

Alternatively, you can use the PDF application form - Application form for discretionary housing payment (220kb, PDF) or ask for an application from one of our offices.


Download the Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme policy.