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Extra help: Discretionary Housing Payments

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Do you have rent arrears that are preventing you from moving to a more affordable property? Do you want to move, but can't afford the rent in advance payments or deposit? Did you know that there is extra money available to help people who are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit but do not get enough benefit to pay their rent?

Discretionary housing payment

In special circumstances, we can make a discretionary housing payment to give extra help with rent. If the amount of Housing Benefit you are awarded is not enough to meet your rent, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment. We treat every claim individually.

  • Discretionary housing payments are not Benefit payments, but are paid from a discretionary fund. Benefit appeal rules do not apply.
  • There is a limited budget for discretionary housing payments and awards made are usually temporary and for a fixed period. We cannot make an award in every case.
  • We can only consider a discretionary payment towards your rent if you are receiving some Housing Benefit.

Discretionary housing payments may provide help where:

  • you need help to clear your rent arrears to enable you to move to affordable housing;
  • you need help with rent in advance or a deposit to help you move to a more affordable property;
  • your benefit is reduced because you are living in a property larger than required for your household size;
  • your maximum rent figure has been restricted by the Rent Officer or a Local Housing Allowance rate;
  • your benefit is reduced because your income is higher than your applicable amount;
  • you have a non-dependant living with you and a deduction is being made;
  • you are affected by the Benefit Capping rules;
  • you need extra financial help with your ongoing rent situation.

Please note if you are over-accommodated and have extra bedrooms, we expect you to be working with your housing department to try and move to a property more suited to your family's needs before we can consider extra help.

Applying for a discretionary housing payment

Complete an online form below:

Please answer the questions as fully as you can. The more information you give us, the better we will be able to understand your circumstances and your need for extra financial help.

Discretionary housing payments cannot provide help for:

  • service charges that do not qualify for Housing Benefit, such as fuel, water or food;
  • increases in rent to recover arrears;
  • rent if you do not receive Housing Benefit;
  • any reduction due to a sanction being imposed;
  • any benefit that has been suspended;
  • Council Tax.

There is no appeal right against the decision made regarding your discretionary housing payment award but you can ask us to look at the decision again. 

Discretionary Housing Payment guide to policy and procedures

Independent financial advice can be found on the following websites: