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Discretionary Housing Payments

Help to meet your housing costs

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) provide extra money when you need help to meet your housing costs. It is a scheme intended to ease financial hardship. DHP is for residents who face a variety of financial difficulties. DHP helps with housing costs on a short term and temporary basis and gives residents time to find alternative solutions. There will be exceptional cases where a DHP is required in the long term; however, it should not be seen as a permanent solution.

DHP is not a benefit and the council has a limited amount of money each year for those who need extra financial help. You do not have a statutory right to receive a payment. DHP is paid in addition to Housing Benefit. It can help pay the difference between your Housing Benefit and your rent.

To provide you with support, as part of the application process, we may refer your details onto the Homes & Money Hub and/or the Job Shop and this referral may be tied to your ongoing financial support with a DHP, if awarded. They can provide further help and advice on managing money, arrears with your rent and supporting you into work.

Circumstances:in which we may consider awarding DHP

  • an increase in essential work-related costs
  • during pregnancy
  • if you have appealed a benefit decision and have little or no money while it is being considered
  • if your Housing Benefit has recently reduced due to a spare room
  • if your Housing Benefit has recently reduced due to the Benefit Cap
  • if you're in danger of eviction and homelessness
  • recent carer or kinship responsibilities
  • you're waiting to move to more affordable accommodation and are making regular, positive steps to pursue this option
  • you're undergoing life changing circumstances that significantly affect your household
  • you have a child of a significant age (for example leaving school in the next school year; ensuring children are not displaced from their school environment at critical times)
  • you or a household member have significant health problems or particular needs which could increase living costs (such as frequent hospital visits)
  • you require support to gain or sustain employment

This is not a complete list. If you require additional help you should claim to see whether you qualify.

Rent advances and deposits

The council has a rent deposit scheme, but in some cases DHP may be awarded for rent in advance or a deposit. Where this is the case we will need to check if you:

  • are due to have a deposit or rent in advance in respect of your existing tenancy returned to you
  • have been refused assistance from the council through a rent deposit guarantee scheme or similar

You should note that DHP cannot cover:

  • deduction for the recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments
  • Housing Benefits that are suspended
  • increase in rent due to outstanding arrears
  • reduction in any benefit as a result of Jobseekers sanctions, Child Support Agency sanctions or sanctions following certain benefit related offences
  • rent arrears which are not eligible to Housing Benefit
  • service charges, hot water/heating, water rates or other costs that may be included in the rent


Discretionary Housing Payments guidance (PDF, 117 KB)

Who can claim and how to claim

In order to qualify for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) you must be in receipt of Housing Benefit and have a liability to pay rent.

Making a DHP claim

You must make a formal claim for DHP before we can consider making an award.

Complete and submit a printed DHP form by post or email

You can also contact us to request a printed form.

DHP application form (PDF, 246 KB)

Tell us why you need extra help

You must tell us on the claim form why you think you need extra help to meet your rent payments. You should include information such as:

  • any change in your circumstances which makes it more difficult for you to meet the shortfall
  • any disabilities or illnesses you or a member of your family may have
  • any other special circumstances
  • how your disability or illness may affect you financially (for example, extra costs) or prevent you from moving
  • income and spending, including debts
  • what would happen if you lost your home

Supporting evidence will be required; this could include proof of any income and outgoings.

We will look at your circumstances to see whether you are eligible for DHP, and then decide how much you will be paid and for how long.

The total weekly amount you receive from Housing Benefit and DHP cannot exceed your weekly rent.

How DHP is paid

DHP will be paid with your Housing Benefit. This could be to you or to your landlord.

DHP for Universal Credit customers

If you would like to ask us a question about Discretionary Housing Payment for Universal Credit customers, the best way to contact us is to use our Discretionary Housing Payment for Universal Credit customers form. To use the form, you need to be signed in to your My Account. If you don’t have one, you can create a My Account.

DHP for Universal Credit customers

Change in circumstances and overpayments

It is possible to be over-paid Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). You must notify us of all changes in your circumstances within one month of the change taking place.

If you disagree with our DHP decision

There is no right of appeal against a DHP decision. You can however ask us to look at the decision again. If your circumstances change, you can reapply. There is no limit on how many times you can claim a DHP.

Housing Benefit

Roycraft House, 15 Linton Road, Barking IG11 8HE

020 8227 2970