If you’re struggling with your housing costs, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment from your local authority. Maha Khurram from our crisis navigation team explains what the payment is, who is eligible and how to apply.
What is a Discretionary Housing Payment?
A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a payment that can help towards your housing costs and is awarded at the discretion of your local authority. You can get it if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit and it can also cover one-off costs, such as a rent deposit, rent in advance or removal costs to help you move into a new home.
How do I know if I’m eligible for a DHP?
You must be entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit to apply for a DHP. This includes:
- Those living in temporary accommodation
- Individuals or families fleeing domestic violence
- Those with family care responsibilities
- Those who cannot move immediately for reasons of health, education or child protection
- Households moving to more appropriate accommodation
- Households having difficulty finding more appropriate accommodation
- Disabled people living in significantly adapted accommodation
- Approved or prospective adoptive parents or foster carers
How much DHP can I get?
Your local authority will decide whether to award a DHP, how much to award, and for how long. The payment could be made to you or direct to your landlord. There is no limit to the length of time over which DHPs can be made.
Will a DHP affect my benefits or tax?
No, DHPs do not count as income or capital when calculating your entitlement to means-tested benefits or Tax Credits.
How do I claim DHP?
Each local authority will have its own system for making a claim; however in general you will need the following documents:
- Your most recent payslip if you are working
- Your partner’s most recent payslip (if you have a partner and they are working)
- Bank account statements covering the last two months (and partner’s)
- Proof of any loan or credit card or hire purchase repayment agreements
- Any letters you have received from the landlord about rent arrears
- Proof of any expenses that are especially high
- If you are ill, recent medical evidence
There is no right of appeal against a DHP decision, but you may be able to apply for a Judicial Review in the High Court; you will need to seek legal advice on this.