Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19) For information on changes to our services, how to get help, support your community, advice and grants for employers and businesses visit our Coronavirus pages.

  1. Home
  2. Council tax and benefits
  3. Housing benefits and Universal Credit
  4. Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payments

In some circumstances we can give people suffering exceptional hardship an extra payment called Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to help with housing costs.

You must be receiving either Housing Benefit or the Housing element of Universal Credit to claim and you must prove that you are suffering from financial hardship due to a shortfall in your benefits which may be caused by:

  • Housing Benefit restrictions under the maximum rent rules
  • A non-dependant within the household
  • The household income
  • Single room rent rates affecting under 35’s

Discretionary Housing Payments cannot cover:

  • Water rates
  • Tenants levy
  • Service charges (for example heating and hot water)

Applying for Discretionary Housing Payments if you receive Housing Benefit

Discretionary Housing Payments are not housing benefit payments; they are awarded on a case-by-case basis for help with housing costs. Complete and return the application form:

When your application has been assessed we will let you know our decision. If you disagree with the decision made you cannot appeal against it as awards are at our discretion. However you can ask us to reconsider the decision.

Applying for Discretionary Housing Payments if you receive Universal Credit

To be eligible for an award of DHP, you:

  • must be receiving the housing element of Universal Credit 
  • will need a list of all your income and expenses

Please note: Forest of Dean District Council is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Legislation. We will only use your personal information in accordance with the Legislation and for the purposes of Discretionary Housing Payment. We will not give information about you to anyone else, or use information about you for other purposes, unless the law allows us to.

Apply for discretionary housing payments - Universal Credit

How long is the discretionary housing payment for?

In both cases awards are usually made for a short term period to help you through a specific financial crisis. During the period of the award, it is important that you try to help your situation yourself, such as increasing your income, negotiating a lower rent with your landlord, or moving to a more affordable property. 

In certain limited circumstances, such as where your property has been extensively adapted to cater for a disability, longer awards may be considered.

If my circumstances change

As with any other benefit award, if there has been a change to your circumstances since DHP was awarded, you are responsible for telling us as soon as possible to stop any overpayment of benefit.