Discretionary Payments

Getting extra help with paying your rent/Council Tax

What are discretionary payments?

They are not payments of benefit or support but separate payments made at the council's discretion in cases where it is considered that extra help with rent and / or council tax is needed.

Payments are made from a set budget that we manage. This means that once the budget has been spent no further awards can be made until the next financial year.

Who can claim?

Anyone who is currently receiving housing benefit, the housing cost element of Universal Credit and / or Local Council Tax Support and there is a shortfall between the amount of benefit and / or support awarded and the amount of rent or council tax liability, can apply.

When can discretionary payments not be paid?

We cannot pay a discretionary payment to cover any shortfall where this is due to:

  • Ineligible service charges
  • payment of housing benefit has been suspended
  • any sanctions imposed by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • the amount of housing benefit you are entitled to is being used to recover an overpayment of benefit.
When would we consider paying a discretionary payment?

All applications will be decided on their own merits, however because payments are made from a limited budget we pay particular attention where the shortfall between the amount of benefit and / or support payable and the amount of liability is caused by:

  • restrictions in the maximum amount of benefit payable in accordance with legislation
  • a reduction in the amount of benefit payable due to being a hospital in patient
  • the effect of the tapers used to work out benefit entitlement where there is a real danger of homelessness if the shortfall cannot be met

Please note that these are only examples. If your personal circumstances are different you should still apply.

How to claim?

Complete the online form.

Please also see our Benefit on-line and portal access page.

Awarding a discretionary payment?

If we can provide help we will decide who to pay based on the circumstances of each case, this may be:

  • you
  • your partner
  • an appointee or
  • your landlord
How long will it be given for?

This will depend on your circumstances and the funding available. Discretionary payments must not be seen as a long term solution to meeting the shortfall that exists. Once the period of the award has ended further payments cannot be guaranteed.

What if your circumstances change?

As with payments of housing benefit or local council tax support, any changes in your circumstances must be reported immediately to the Benefit Service. Further information about changes in circumstances is available you can also use our online form to report a change in circumstances.

What if you are overpaid?

We will recover any overpaid discretionary payments by issuing an invoice or debiting your Council Tax account. We will notify you in writing of any overpayment and explain your rights to ask for a review.  Further information about overpayments is available.

What appeal rights are there?

Discretionary payments are not payments of benefit and therefore do not carry the same appeal rights. You can however, ask us to review our decision about:

  • not making an award
  • the amount of the award
  • not backdating the award
  • an overpayment of benefit.

For more information about discretionary housing payments please click below:

How much have we paid?

Spend on DHP since 2011/12.

Year 

DWP contribution

Local Authority Contribution

Total Discretionary Housing Payment Spend and Committed

Percentage of Spend

         

2011/12

13,459.00

20,189.00

12,641.34

93.92

2012/13

30,973.00

46,459.50

11,177.81

36.09

2013/14

114,555.00

99,833.50

67,024.21

58.51

2014/15

101,520.00

50,000.00

88,842.52

87.51

2015/16

107,622.00

50,000.00

77,251.00

71.78

2016/17

123,711.00

nil

93,572.41

75.64

2017/18

186,894.00

nil

85,498.16

45.75

2018/19

172,583.00

nil

76,468.00

44.31

2019/20

141,262.00

nil

91,536.00

64.80

2020/21

178,686.00

nil

108,891.00

60.94

2021/22

120,505.00

nil

105,054.00

87.18

2022/23

85,409.00

nil

67,874.00

99.92

2023/24

85,409.00

nil

85,351

99.93

The policy

Our policy

 

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