Extra help to pay your rent (Discretionary Housing Payment)

Are you claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit but are still struggling to pay your rent? We might be able to offer you a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help you. This is a short term payment that we can award to help cover your housing costs.

Find out more about DHPs in our DHP easy read guide.

Apply for a DHP

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

  • you already receive a housing payment as part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit
  • your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit 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 a benefit

You don't have an automatic right to a DHP. We consider each application on its own merit and take into account:

  • your income
  • your expenditure
  • your personal circumstances
  • if you’ve had a DHP before and what you’ve done to improve your financial situation

We have a limited amount to spend on DHPs each year. Once we've spent this, we can't make any further awards. We therefore have to make sure that we help those who need it most. You can read more about the way we award DHPs in our DHP policy.

For more information about applying for a DHP, contact us online. You can also find other ways to contact us.

What happens next

After you've applied we'll check the information you've provided and decide whether you're entitled to a 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 for a DHP again.

The payment will usually start from the Monday following the date of your application. If you receive Housing Benefit, it'll paid into the same account.

The most we can give you is the difference between the housing element of your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, and the amount of rent you have to pay. If you receive Universal Credit, a new payment arrangement may be made.

You can see the details of your DHP by registering for a My Bentax account online.

If you don’t agree with our decision

If you think our decision is wrong, you can ask us to look at it again.

Please note: you don't have the same right of appeal as you would for Housing Benefit. This is because DHP is a discretionary award and not an entitlement.

If your circumstances change

You need 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 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 with money, please contact an advice service who can help you:

  • Money and debt advice - local and national services.
  • Benefits advice - help to claim benefits or to check if you’re receiving everything that you’re entitled to.
  • Housing advice - general housing advice, support to keep your tenancy, or if you’re worried about becoming homeless.