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Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are extra payments if you need help with rent or housing costs.

DHPs can be used to pay:

  • your rent
  • removal costs
  • rent in advance

Who can get a DHP

You can apply for a DHP if you currently receive either:

  • Housing Benefit; or
  • the housing element of Universal Credit

and you need more financial support with housing costs

What a DHP can help with

You may be able to get a DHP if:

  • you have a spare bedroom that Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not pay for
  • someone in the property has a disability
  • you need to move to more suitable accommodation and need to pay rent in advance or you need help with removal costs
  • a benefit cap has reduced the Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you receive
  • there is a shortfall between the amount of Housing Benefit or Housing Costs in Universal Credit you get and the amount of rent you have to pay

These are examples and don't cover all the circumstances in which a DHP can be awarded.

What a DHP cannot cover

We can't make a payment for the following:

  • Council Tax – but you can apply for an Exceptional Hardship payment
  • if you get Universal Credit but not the Housing Costs element
  • to pay service charges which are not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • to pay a deposit to secure accommodation
  • where your Housing Benefit is reduced to recover an overpayment
  • to pay rent that is clearly excessive
  • to cover increases in rent because you’re in rent arrears
  • when benefit has been reduced by the Department for Work and Pensions due to a sanction

How to apply

We will aim to deal with your application within 30 days

You will need:

  • Bank statements for all accounts
  • if you get Universal Credit we’ll need to see a screenshot showing the breakdown of your latest payment from your online account
  • if you have rent arrears we’ll need to see a full rent statement
  • if you are applying for help with removal costs we’ll need to see 2 quotes
  • applications for Rent In Advance payments should be made at least 2 weeks before signing a tenancy to allow 10 working days for a decision to be made.  You will need to provide confirmation from your landlord of the Rent In Advance amount to be paid.

You will need to provide details of the money you have coming in and the money you spend. 

Please give as much information as possible to help us understand your circumstances, this will help us process your application as quickly as possible.

Evidence can be uploaded with your application.

If you are unable to apply online you can phone 01752 668000.

Provide additional evidence

If you need to provide additional information you can use our online form.  

How we make our decision

To decide how much DHP you can get we consider the following:

  • household income
  • any savings
  • if anyone else is able to help you financially
  • if you could re-arrange your finances to ease the situation
  • if you have any debts
  • if you or your family have any special circumstances, like ill health or disability
  • any other relevant information

We will write to you with our decision and the reasons for it. Any DHP you receive will depend on your circumstances and will usually be for a short time only.

If your application is successful payment will be made into the bank account you have nominated or to your landlord if requested or if we feel it is in your best interest.

We can let you know if you'll receive this payment before you start a tenancy with a landlord.

We provide details of DHP fund use to the Department for Work and Pensions, you can view and download DHP data from GOV.UK.

Report a change in circumstances

If your circumstances change after you have been awarded a DHP you must let us know within one month. We can look at our decision and see whether your payment needs to be changed.

How to appeal

If you disagree with a decision, you can’t appeal but you can ask us to provide an explanation.

Submit a general enquiry or write to us at Plymouth City Council, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ.

You need to contact us within one month of the date on your decision letter.