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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP's)


What is a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) provide customers with further financial assistance when the Council thinks that help with housing costs is needed. This must be due to a shortfall between your rental liability and your Housing Benefit entitlement/housing cost element of Universal Credit and as a result of this shortfall you are suffering extreme hardship.


DHP awards are expected to be short term awards to overcome temporary situations and to give customers time to seek assistance, solve their difficulties and enable them to secure, retain and pay for affordable accommodation.


 Whether you are granted a DHP, how much it is and for how long it is paid will be a decision for the Council and will entirely depend on an individual’s circumstances, each case is treated on its own merits.


Who can claim DHPs?

Anyone who requires further help with housing costs and is currently claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.


What will DHP cover?

The Council will consider awarding a DHP for the following circumstances, should the personal and financial circumstances of the customer entitle them to an award:

  • a shortfall due to the benefit cap having been applied;
  • a shortfall due to the social rent size criteria legislation having been applied;
  • a shortfall due to Local Housing Allowance rate/size restrictions;
  • a shortfall due to a restriction by the Rent Officer such as local reference rent;
  • a shortfall in housing costs to prevent the household becoming homeless whilst the Council’s Housing Department explores alternative options;
  • a shortfall due to a non- dependant deduction;
  • a shortfall due to the income taper;
  • a shortfall for those returning to work after a long period (at least 18 months) of unemployment, who have difficulty in managing their finances during the transition from long term benefit until stable in work income is secured.


DHP’s cannot be considered for:-

  • Ineligible service charges (as defined by Regulations)
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • Certain sanctions and reductions in Benefit such as an overpayment deduction


What information do I need to provide?

You must provide any information that is relevant to your claim to help the decision maker fully assess your claim and come to a decision. As part of the DHP application you may be asked to attend an interview or a home visit maybe arranged.


What factors will be considered in my DHP application?

All factors of each individual case will be considered including:

  • the shortfall between any benefit award and housing costs liability and any steps taken by the customer to reduce their liability;
  • the  financial  and  medical  or social needs  (including  ill  health  and  disabilities)  of  the customer,  their  partner, any  dependant's and any other occupants of the claimant’s home, e.g. are there health or support needs which require a customer to remain in a particular property or area? Is choice of accommodation restricted due to a health problem either temporarily or permanently? Are there children in the household due to take crucial exams such as GCSE’s?
  • the income and expenditure of the claimant, their partner and any dependant's or other occupants of the claimant’s home. All income is taken into account for the DHP assessment including income normally disregarded for a Housing Benefit/Universal Credit assessments e.g. Disability Living/ mobility allowance, maintenance, child benefit and voluntary payments. Is all disregarded income committed to essential financial commitments or can some of this disregarded income be used to make up the shortfall?
  • any expenses incurred by the claimant, particularly expenses relating to ill health or disability e.g if Disability Living Allowance, mobility supplement is in payment, is this already being used for a motability scheme or travel expenses?
  • Are there any unusually high work travel expenses, e.g. as the customer works further away from home or does split shifts?
  • any savings or capital held by the claimant or their family and whether any capital/savings can be used to make up the shortfall?
  • is there anyone else, e.g. family or friends that are willing to make up the shortfall?
  • can the customer change their spending pattern on non- essential items?
  • could the customer afford the rent when they moved in?
  • can the customer increase their working hours?
  • the level and nature of indebtedness of the claimant and their family and the steps taken to re-negotiate non-priority debts;
  • have all available Social Security benefits been claimed and income maximized by way of benefits entitlement.

 How do I make a claim?

You will need to contact the Benefit Section at the Town Hall to obtain a claim form or telephone us on 02392 545325 or e-mail us at benefits@gosport.gov.uk.   Or you can download a form here.


Any successful application will only be awarded from the Monday following the date your claim form is received.


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