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Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

Short-term financial assistance and help with housing costs


Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment


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What is a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)?

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) provides further financial assistance relating to housing costs to households over a short-term period. These payments are made at the discretion of our housing service, where it is considered that an applicant is in need.

DHPs are free-standing and separate, meaning that they are not payments of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. DHP is a cash limited fund provided by the Government each year, once the fund has been spent there will be no further awards made.

We carefully consider each case on its own merit, and we take a number of different factors into account when deciding whether to grant a DHP. The decision we make depends upon your circumstances and what the money will be used for.

Please note: if you do not tell us something in your application which would otherwise have affected our decision to give you a payment, you may be asked to repay the DHP.

If you require advice and assistance regarding your housing situation, please contact the Housing Operations Team by email at housing@westberks.gov.uk or phone us on 01635 519 530 and choose option 2.
 

Who Can Claim a DHP?

Anyone who is currently receiving Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, and needs further financial assistance with housing costs can make a claim for a DHP.
 

What Can a DHP Help With?

DHPs can help with:

  • A reduction of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit following the removal of the spare room subsidy
  • A reduction of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit where the benefit cap has been applied
  • A rent shortfall, to prevent a household becoming homeless whilst the housing service explores alternative options
  • Rent deposits, help with rent in advance or help to pay removal costs if you need to move to a smaller or cheaper property and you can demonstrate that you cannot afford this on your own

DHPs cannot help with:

  • Ineligible service charges
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • Certain sanctions or reductions in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits
  • Shortfalls caused by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit overpayment recovery
     

How is a DHP Paid?

DHPs are paid along with your Housing Benefit, or as a direct payment if you are in receipt of Universal Credit. The payment will usually be sent to you (or your landlord if you are receiving direct payment) alongside your regular benefit payment.
 

How Long Can a DHP be Paid For?

There is no time limit for how long a DHP can be paid. However, we cannot spend more than the annual limit set by the government.

A DHP is paid for a set period, but when that runs out you are welcome to re-apply if your circumstances are the same. However, if your circumstances change during the set period, your DHP may stop or change as a result.
 

What if Your Circumstances Change?

You must keep the Benefits Team (or DWP if you are in receipt of Universal Credit) and the Housing Service informed of any changes in your circumstances, as they may affect the amount of benefit you receive.
 

Applying for a DHP

You can apply for a DHP by downloading the Icon for doc Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) Application form [605.68KB] .

If you need further help, please email DHP@westberks.gov.uk.

What Information Needs to be Provided?

For your application to be successful, our housing service must be able to evidence that you need extra help with your housing costs. This will normally involve comparing your income and your spending, so you will need to be able to provide evidence to help prove your case.

The following documents will be required:

  • A signed DHP application form
  • Your last 3 months of bank statements, for any accounts held by you (and your partner if applicable)
  • Evidence that you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • Other support documents, dependent on reason for the application (ie, if for Rent in Advance and Deposit you would need your: Tenancy Agreement, landlord's bank details, Gas Safety Certificate, EPC)

What Happens When an Application is Received?

Your application must be in the required format (ie using the application form). If the form is not fully completed or is missing income and expenditure details, along with relevant paperwork, it will be returned to you.

Completed applications will be reviewed and processed by a designated officer. We aim to notify you of the decision within 28 days of receipt of the application. We'll write to you to let you know our decision, the reasons for it and what happens next.

What if You Disagree with Our Decision?

If you do not agree with the decision that has been made, you can ask us to look at our decision again if you are able to provide new information that might help your application.

Any request for a review of a decision should be made in writing and marked for the attention of the Housing Strategy, Development and Review Manager within 21 days of receipt of the decision letter.
 

Further Advice

For further advice and information, you can contact the Housing Options Team, or you can get independent advice from organisations such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
 

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