Discretionary Housing Payments

If you are receiving Housing Benefit but are still having difficulty paying your rent you may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment:

View the Discretionary Housing Payments guide (PDF 99.3KB).

Who can apply

To be considered for a Discretionary Housing Payment you must be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (that includes support towards a rental liability) and require further financial assistance towards your rent or housing costs.

We have a limited fund that can be used for Discretionary Housing Payments, therefore all claims are carefully considered before any award is made.

How we decide who gets a payment

We have a Discretionary Housing Payment Policy (PDF 199KB), which provides a framework for decision-makers.

There is no automatic entitlement to Discretionary Housing Payments. We will look at each case individually, considering how much income a person has and how much they have to pay out each week. Some examples of when someone may require extra help include (but not limited to):

  • you live in a council house and your housing benefit has been reduced because you are under occupying your property
  • your housing benefit has been reduced because of the benefit cap
  • you are sick or disabled and cannot work
  • you have large debt
  • your rent is very high and you are looking for cheaper accommodation
  • you are caring for a relative or friend and have to pay a lot in travel costs
  • your housing benefit has been reduced because of a non-dependant reduction

These are just a few examples. There may be other reasons why you need to apply.

Duration of payments

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.

How to apply

To apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, please complete our online application. If you need help to claim online please call our Support and Advice Team.

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

Appeal a decision

If you disagree with our decision, you should write to us explaining why you feel we should reconsider the decision. 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.


You can contact the Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team in writing, by telephone or email: 

Aberdeenshire Support and Advice Team
PO Box 18533
AB51 5WX
Telephone: 03456 08 12 00
Email: asat@aberdeenshire.gov.uk