Extra help to pay your rent

If you’re finding it difficult to pay your rent, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment (DHP) on top of your usual housing benefit or Universal Credit payment.

DHPs are for people who are experiencing financial hardship.

Who can apply for a DHP?

You can apply for a DHP if:

  • you already receive housing benefit or Universal Credit with a housing element
  • your housing benefit or Universal Credit does not cover the full cost of your rent

DHPs are not 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 all of the information on your application including your income, your expenditure and your personal circumstances. We’ll also look at if you’ve had a DHP before and what action you’ve taken to improve your financial situation.

We have a limited amount to spend on DHPs each year and we have to make sure that they are awarded to those who are most in need of help. Once the money has been spent, no further awards can be made.

You can find out more in our Discretionary Housing Payments policy.

What happens next?

When we receive your application form and have checked your supporting information, we’ll write to you with a decision.

If you’re entitled to a DHP, we’ll tell you how much you will get and how long the payments will be made for. Your payment will usually start from the Monday following the date we receive your application.

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.

DHPs are paid into the same account as your housing benefit.

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

When your DHP has been granted, we'll tell you how long the award is for. If you still need help after this period you will need to apply again.

If you don’t agree

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

Change in circumstances

Please use our form to 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’ll 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

We would recommend that you get advice if you’re having problems paying your rent, or are suffering financial hardship. We’ll expect you to improve your financial situation if you’ve been awarded a DHP.

For general housing advice, support to keep your tenancy or if you’re worried about becoming homeless you can contact our housing advice service.

Our Welfare Rights service can advice you about benefits and check to make sure that you’re receiving everything that you’re entitled to.

You may also be able to get some help through the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme if you’re on benefits or a low income.

Please also read this useful information about managing your money.

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