Extra help to pay your rent

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, we might be able to offer you a discretionary housing payment (DHP).

This is a short term payment that we can award to help cover your housing costs. You may be able to claim this on top of your usual housing benefit or Universal Credit payment.

We have a limited amount to spend on DHPs each year. Once we've spent this, we can't make any further awards, so we have to make sure that we help those who need it most. 

How to apply for a DHP

You can apply for a DHP if you need further help with your housing costs and:

  • you already receive housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • your housing benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover the full cost of your rent

DHPs aren't paid for:

  • services that are included in your rent
  • making up a reduction because you've been overpaid benefit

You don't have an automatic right to a DHP. We consider each application on its own merit, taking into account your income, expenditure, and personal circumstances. We also check whether you’ve had a DHP before and what you’ve done to improve your financial situation.

You can read more about the way we award DHPs in our Discretionary Housing Payments Policy.

To apply for a DHP, fill in our online form below.

What happens next

When we get your application, we'll check your supporting information, and decide whether you're entitled to DHP.  We’ll write to you to let you know what we've decided.

If you’re entitled to a DHP, we’ll tell you how much you'll receive and for how long.  If you still need help after this period, you'll need to apply again.

Your payment will usually start from the Monday following the date we receive your application. It will be paid into the same account as your housing benefit.

The most we can give you is the difference between your housing benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, and the amount of rent you have to pay.

If you receive Universal Credit, a new payment arrangement may be made.

If you don’t agree with our decision

If you think our decision is wrong, you can ask us to look at it again by filling in our dispute form below. You don't have the same rights of appeal as you would for housing benefit, because DHP is a discretionary award and not an entitlement.

If your circumstances change

Tell us if there are any changes to your circumstances. This includes your financial situation or anything else that means we may need to review your DHP. Read more about the changes in circumstances that we need to know about.

We may ask you to pay back your DHP if we find out later that you weren’t entitled to it.

What you can do to improve your situation

If we award you a DHP, we'll expect you to try to improve your financial situation. 

if you're struggling financially, please get some advice from one of the following organisations.

You can get free and confidential advice about debt and managing your finances from: