Discretionary housing payments (DHP)

Date last updated: 18 February 2022

What are Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)?

Discretionary housing payments can be paid in certain circumstances to help people who receive housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, when its not enough to cover their full rent. This includes where housing benefit has been reduced due to the benefit cap, or the over occupancy charge if you’re deemed to have a spare bedroom (sometimes known as the ‘bedroom tax‘).


What reasons can I have to apply for a DHP?

The council will take into account any special circumstances you have such as expenses arising from illness, or if you are likely to be made homeless if a payment is not made.

How can I apply for a DHP?

You can contact your local council for a discretionary housing payment form. You will be asked for details of your income and outgoings and you may need to send copies of bills and bank statements. Remember to include information about any particularly difficult circumstances you have.

How does the council decide if I get a DHP?

The council will decide if you are eligible for a payment. The payment is at the discretion of the council and they do not have to make a payment. They can decide to make up the whole shortfall between housing benefit and the full rent, or just part of it. They may agree to pay it just for a short period of time.

What can I do if they don’t give me the payment?

If the council refuses to give you a discretionary housing payment there is no right of appeal but you can ask the council to look at the decision again.

Housing options for single parents

Finding a new home for you and your family, or setting up home for the first time as a single parent can be a big challenge. Read our housing page for information and further support.

Renting options for single parents

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