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If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs does not fully cover your rent you will have a shortfall.  If this is the case, you may wish to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).  We get a grant from central government each year to assist those that need extra help with housing costs and the money available is limited.  For this reason, we can only grant help to people who have special circumstances which make it difficult for them to pay their rent.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax you can apply for Exceptional Hardship using the same application form.

You can apply for a DHP if you're currently entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs of at least £0.50 per week.  You can't get DHP if your rent is already covered in full by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

Special circumstances include:

  • if your benefit has been reduced because your income is more than the amount the government say you need to live on each week
  • if your benefit has been reduced because a non-dependant lives in your home and they can't help you with the shortfall
  • if you have high heating bills because of an illness or disability
  • in other situations - each case is looked at individually and on its own merits

It can't help with:

  • Council Tax
  • service charges that are not covered by Housing Benefit
  • charges for water or sewerage services
  • deductions in benefit as a result of Jobseekers Allowance sanctions
  • where Housing Benefit is suspended

DHPs are usually awarded for a set period, up to a maximum of 26 weeks, although this differs from case to case. The length of the initial DHP award is based on the amount of time we think it will take you to find a long-term solution to the problem. For example, if the rent is high, we may pay DHP while you look for alternative accommodation.

You'll need to complete an application form which asks questions about:

  • your rent charge
  • whether you have done anything to try and help your situation such as ask your landlord to reduce the rent
  • whether you or your family have any health problems
  • your total household income and expenditure

We may also ask you to produce evidence of expenditure that you have, such as loans and utility bills.

Please bear in mind that this information is for guidance only. We treat every case on its own merits and may also be able to take into account other factors not mentioned here.

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