Discretionary Housing Payments can give additional help to Housing Benefit claimants and Universal Credit claimants who have the housing element included in their award. This help can be to meet housing costs, or a one-off cost such as rent in advance, a rent deposit, or moving costs
In order to claim a DHP you need to be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with housing costs and you may be asked to provide proof of living costs and explain why you need extra help.
DHP awards will be used to:
- alleviate poverty
- support vulnerable residents
- encourage employment
- safeguard residents in their homes
- keep families together
- support foster carers (priority for size restriction cases)
- support disabled people to remain in adapted properties (priority for size restriction cases)
- support those affected by welfare reform changes
- help claimants to meet the costs of taking up or securing a tenancy
DHP awards reflect the individual circumstances of each claimant and the amount of funds available at the time of the application.
Awards made will not:
- be more than the rent due to be paid by the claimant
- be more than the rent in advance / rent deposit / moving cost
- cover ineligible service charges or deductions made for an overpayment of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- be made for an indefinite period
- compensate for loss of income due to benefit reductions, sanctions, or suspensions
- guarantee that any future awards will be made
- be prioritised for Council claimants – the awards are for all residents in East Dunbartonshire
On-going DHP awards for Council claimants will be made direct to rent accounts. On- going DHP awards for private tenants will be made in line with Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payments as appropriate. Rent in advance or for a deposit will normally be paid direct to a landlord. Moving costs will normally be paid direct to the removal firm.
What information will you need to provide?
You will need to state:
the reason(s) you need help with your housing costs/one-off help
- how long you expect to need the help for
- any special circumstances you or your household have
- if there are any reasons why the accommodation you are in meets your needs
- any steps you have taken to secure more affordable accommodation
- your income and expenditure details
You may also be asked to provide evidence of expenditure (for example: bank statements showing payments made, receipts, payment agreement letters, or any other evidence available). Evidence of income may be asked for if it has changed since your last Housing Benefit assessment or if you are receiving Universal Credit for help with your rent. Evidence may also be asked for to confirm your particular circumstances/needs or your family's where appropriate.
Claims will only be backdated within the same financial year. You will have to demonstrate good cause for not having applied at an earlier date. It is extremely unlikely that a backdated award will be made for a one-off cost such as rent deposits, rent in advance or moving costs.
You will receive a letter detailing the decision on your application within 14 days of receipt of all necessary information and evidence required to assess your application. This letter will detail all relevant information of any payments awarded, and who to contact for further information or advice as appropriate to your own circumstances.
What if I cannot afford to Pay
You can make an application for Discretionary Housing Payments to help with the difference between your Housing Benefit award and your rent charge. Please note that the Discretionary Housing Payments fund is limited and is only intended to provide short term assistance.
Other options you may wish to consider are:
- Moving to a more suitable property.
- Asking other residents, for example grown up children, to contribute more money.
- Contacting your landlord to see if there is any help they can give you.
- Increasing your hours of work, or taking a job.
- Taking in a lodger to help with rent costs – this may affect any benefits you receive so please contact the Revenues and Benefits Team for advice.
For more information on Discretionary Housing Payments and how to apply, call the Council on 0300 123 4510 and ask for the Revenue & Benefits Team or call us on 0800 901057. Application forms in the attached documents section should be completed and posted to:
Revenues and Benefits Team,
East Dunbartonshire Council
2/4 West High Street
Or can be handed in to one of the Council’s Community Hubs