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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is an extra payment made by your local council to help people who are struggling to pay their rent.


If your income has reduced because of coronavirus and you are struggling to pay your rent you can apply for a DHP if you get either:

If you recently applied for universal credit because of coronavirus, you can apply for a DHP at the end of the first month assessment period.

To apply for a DHP you need to contact your local council. See below for more details on how to apply.

Remember to report any changes to your income to the housing benefit department or DWP (through your universal credit online journal) as soon as you can. Your benefit will usually increase if you report an income drop promptly.

Who can get a DHP?

The council decides who should be given a DHP.

A DHP can be paid to you if:

This can include where your housing benefit or UC housing costs have reduced, for example, because of:

A DHP may also be paid to cover:

  • a rent deposit
  • rent in advance
  • removal costs for a property that you are yet to move into.

Your local council may make a payment to help prevent you becoming homeless. In some situations, payments can also be made to help with rent arrears. 

What will the council consider when I apply?

Give the council as much information as you can to explain why you need a DHP.

Make sure you explain what has caused your rent shortfall or your money problems.

The council will usually take into account any special circumstances that contribute to your financial difficulties, for example if:

  • you have to pay child maintenance
  • you have to pay legal costs
  • you have extra heating costs because you spend a lot of time at home because you are sick or disabled
  • you have extra travel costs because you travel to a doctor or hospital or you care for a relative or friend
  • your work-related travel costs have increased because you had to move as a result of cuts to local housing allowance or the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’
  • you are likely to become homeless if a payment is not made.

How much is a DHP?

The council will decide how much and how often any DHP is made. It may be paid weekly or can be a lump sum. Payments can be backdated. You do not have to repay a DHP.

A DHP is usually paid for a fixed period of time – if this is the case, the council should make it clear to you when the payment will end. In some circumstances, it might be appropriate for the council to make you a long-term award (for example, if you are living in a property that has been significantly adapted for your disability and your housing benefit has been reduced because of the bedroom tax).

If your circumstances change whilst you are receiving a DHP then you should tell the council about those changes so that they can review the payment.

How can I claim?

Every council deals with their claims for DHPs differently but, wherever you apply, you will probably have to fill in a claim form.

To find your local council and how to claim a DHP in your area, please enter your postcode in the box below and click the find button.

If you do not know your postcode, click here.

What information should I send with the claim?

You will probably be asked to give evidence of your income, outgoings and any capital (ie: savings). You may have to provide copies of your household bills, such as rent, water, electricity or gas.

If you receive disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) make sure you explain if you are using those benefits to pay for things related to your disability. The council should then not take them into account.

The council should always act reasonably when asking you for information to support your application. If you think they are acting unreasonably, get advice.

If I don’t get it, can I appeal?

The council should issue their decision on your claim in writing. The letter should set out their reasons for their decision. 

If you disagree with the decision you should ask the council to look at it again. If the council refuse to look at it again or do not change their mind there is no legal right of appeal, although the council could be challenged by judicial review if they have acted unreasonably in dealing with your claim. If you think this applies then seek advice straight away. In cases where there has been some maladministration you may be able to complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Councils receive new funding for DHPs every financial year so if it is refused this year you can still reapply in the next financial year.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: September 15, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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