Discretionary Housing Payments are available to help claimants who need further help with their rent . They are payments to be made at the discretion of the local authority when it is considered that additional help with housing costs is needed.
There could be a shortfall between your rent and Housing Benefit because of the Local Housing Allowance rate you receive or because of the Under Occupancy charge (known as Social Sector Size Criteria and referred to in the media as the 'Bedroom Tax') or the benefit cap.
There could be a shortfall between your rent and the housing costs you received within your Universal Credit award.
However the amount of money available to the Council to make these payments is strictly limited and once the fund has been exhausted, no further awards will be made.
In order to qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment the claimant must:
- Be entitled to Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit with housing costs towards rental liability
- Require further financial assistance in order to meet housing costs
However no award can be made to assist with –
- Ineligible service charges.
- Water, sewerage or environmental charge.
- An increase of rent due to outstanding rent arrears..
- Hardship which results from Social Security benefit sanctions or suspensions
- Overpayments of Housing Benefit
Discretionary Housing Payment are usually available for periods between 3 and 12 months.