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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is an extra payment made by your local council if you are struggling to pay your rent. A DHP does not need to be paid back.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

If your income has reduced because of coronavirus and you are struggling to pay your rent you might be able to apply for a DHP.

To get a DHP you need to already be claiming:

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. Find contact details and all the information you need to apply below.

Who can get a DHP?

Your local council will decide if you can receive a DHP and, if so, how much and how long the payment can be made for.

A DHP can be paid to cover:

  • a shortfall between the housing benefit or UC housing costs you receive and the rent you have to pay yourself
  • a rent deposit
  • rent in advance
  • removal costs for a property that you are yet to move into.

In some situations, your local council may make a payment to help prevent you becoming homeless, or to help with rent arrears. 

In all cases, you need to already be receiving housing benefit or UC housing costs to apply.

What will the council consider when I apply?

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

Tell the council:

  • why you need help with your rent
  • what has caused your rent shortfall – for example, you have to pay the bedroom tax or have lost income
  • if you’re at risk of homelessness because of your rent shortfall or rent arrears.

How much is a DHP?

The council will decide how much and how often any DHP is made.

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. You may have to apply for another DHP at the end of the period.

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.

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

How can I apply?

You apply for a DHP to your local council. Find your council’s DHP application process here:

What information should I send with the claim?

You will probably be asked to give evidence of your income, outgoings and any savings. You may have to provide copies of your 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.

If I don’t get it, can I appeal?

If your council turns your application down, you can ask them to reconsider if you think the decision is unfair.

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 if they have acted unreasonably when dealing with your claim. If you think this applies then get 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.

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: April 20, 2021

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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