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Extra Help

On the 4th May 2021, new regulations came into effect to help people in problem debt to better manage their finances. If you would like further information or would like to find out if you are eligible, please see our Breathing Space webpage.

We have a budgeting tool External Hyperlink, which you may find helpful when applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment as described below.

Discretionary Housing Payments

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

The Government gives every Council a pot of money each year to help people who get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element) but are having trouble paying their rent. The Council's Housing Benefit Service decides who should be given the payments and when the money for the year runs out, no more payments can be made.

The Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) may be paid weekly,fortnightly or every four weeks with your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.  It can also be paid in a lump sum. They can also be backdated.

Who can get a Discretionary Housing Payment?

DHP can be claimed if you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element) but are having difficulty paying the rest of your rent yourself. We will take into account any special circumstances that make it difficult for you to pay your rent, for example, if:

Before granting any requests, we must make sure that there is a justified reason for any payment and there is enough money left in the pot.

What can a DHP cover?

A DHP may be used to pay for:

A DHP cannot be paid if the reason for the shortfall is because your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been reduced to recover an overpayment or because your other benefits have been reduced, for example, because you left your last job voluntarily.  It can't be paid to cover your utility bills or support charges even if they are included in your rent.

How do I make a claim?

In person with one of our Benefit advisors at the Civic Offices

Please call our Benefits team on 01329 824646 to make an appointment.

Over the phone with one of our Benefit advisors

If you would prefer to make your claim over the phone, please call our Benefits team on 01329 824646.

At your home

We offer a home visiting service if you are unable to complete an application over the phone or you are unable to come into the Council Offices because you are ill or disabled.  Appointments can be made by telephoning 01329 824646.

What information will I need to provide?

You may be asked for details of your income and outgoings. You could send copies of relevant bills or bank statements. You should also provide any information about your circumstances that make things difficult for you financially.

Can I appeal if I don't get a payment?

So that all our decisions are fair, they are made based on our DHP policy PDF (165 KB). There is no right of appeal to a tribunal if we say we will not give you a DHP, but you can ask us to have another look at the decision. Someone who was not involved in the original decision will carry this out.

If you are still unhappy, the only way to challenge the decision is in the courts using judicial review.



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