Discretionary housing payments were introduced in July 2001 and replaced the exceptional hardship and exceptional circumstances payments. They are not payments of housing but separate payments made at the council's discretion in cases where it is considered that extra help with rent is needed.
Payments are made from a set budget that we manage. This means that once the budget has been spent no further awards can be made until the next financial year.
Anyone who is currently receiving housing benefit and there is a shortfall between the amount of benefit paid and the amount of rent charged, can apply.
You must be in receipt of housing benefit to receive extra help with your rent.
We cannot pay a Discretionary housing payment to cover any shortfall where this is due to:
All applications will be decided on their own merits, however because payments are made from a limited budget we pay particular attention where the shortfall between the amount of benefit payable and the amount of rent charged has been caused by:
Please note that these are only examples. If your personal circumstances are different you should still apply.
Complete the online form.
If we can provide help we will decide who to pay based on the circumstances of each case, this may be:
The payments will be included with your normal payment of housing benefit.
This will depend on your circumstances and the funding available. Discretionary housing payments must not be seen as a long term solution to meeting the shortfall that exists. Once the period of the award has ended further payments cannot be guaranteed.
As with payments of housing benefit, any changes in your circumstances must be reported immediately to the Benefit Service. Further information about Changes in Circumstance is available and you can also use our online form to report a change in circumstances.
We will recover any overpaid discretionary housing payments by issuing an invoice. We will notify you in writing of any overpayment and explain your rights to ask for a review. Further information about overpayments is available.
Discretionary housing payments are not payments of housing benefit and therefore do not carry the same appeal rights. You can however, ask us to review our decision about:
More information about Discretionary Housing Payments (pdf 832kb).