Discretionary Housing Payments
If you rent your home and receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can't afford your housing costs, you may be eligible for help towards your rent, rent deposit or removal cost. This extra help is called a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
The DHP scheme is funded from money allocated by the Scottish Government and allows the council the discretion to provide short-term financial assistance to those in need. DHP is not a benefit payment and it is not a statutory right to receive it.
You can get a DHP if you:
- are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element
- need further financial assistance with rent in the same week that a DHP is awarded for
What DHP can be used for
A DHP is not a payment of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element.
The level of award can cover all or part of a shortfall or assist with the cost of starting or retaining a tenancy. Here is what a DHP can be used for:
- Reductions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element if you have been affected by the Social Sector Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)
- Reductions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element if the benefit cap has been applied
- Reductions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element as a result of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) restrictions
- Rent officer restrictions such as local reference rent, for example supported exempt accommodation or shared room rate
- If your benefit is reduced by the taper for excess income
- A rent deposit or rent in advance for a property that you are yet to move into if you are already entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element at your current home
What DHP can't be used for
DHP can't be awarded for the following:
- Service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element
- Any rent arrears
- Shortfall caused by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element overpayment recovery
- Certain sanctions or reduction in Department for Work and Pensions benefits
How much you can get
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot exceed the weekly or monthly eligible rent on your home. The amount awarded may cover all or part of the shortfall in rent or the costs of taking up a tenancy.
In deciding whether to award a DHP, we will take into account:
- A shortfall between Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element and rental liability
- Any steps you have taken to reduce your rental liability
- Your and your household's financial circumstances
- Any medical issues (including ill health and disabilities) within your household
- Your and your household's income and expenditure
- Any savings or capital that might be held by you and your household
- Any other relevant information brought to the council's attention
Discretionary Housing Payments are paid on a temporary basis to allow you time to make changes to your circumstances. For example, a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded until you find more affordable accommodation or until you reduce your debt.
You will need to consider how you pay your rent long term without a Discretionary Housing Payment.
If you are awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment you will be advised how long the payments last for. This can range from a few weeks to a maximum of 12 months.
You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment online.
If you need help to claim online please phone our Support and Advice Team.
View the DHP privacy notice (PDF 35KB) to find out what we do with your information.
Request a review of our decision
If you disagree with our decision, please write to us explaining why you feel we should reconsider it. The decision will be looked at again by someone other than the original decision maker and you will receive a letter explaining the outcome of that review.
If after the first tier review you are still dissatisfied you can seek a second tier review.