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Discretionary Housing Payments
We administer Discretionary Housing Payments using a cash limited fund set by the Government.
It is important to know that these are not payments of Housing Benefit.
You must be in receipt of Housing Benefit to receive a Discretionary Housing Payment towards your rent. There must also be a shortfall between the Benefit awarded and payments due. There are some costs that Discretionary Housing Payments cannot meet.
If awarded the period of award will depend upon your circumstances and how long these are expected to last. Awards are normally made for a number of weeks to help your current situation. At the end of the award you may reapply for a new period to be considered. Remember that this is a cash limited fund so help may not be available indefinitely.
The most that can be awarded is the difference between the Benefit you are already receiving and your eligible rent charge. If your rent includes an amount for services that are not eligible for Housing Benefit (for example water rates, heating, meals) this amount cannot be met by Discretionary Housing Payments. If your rent has been increased to cover outstanding rent arrears then a Discretionary Housing Payment can not be awarded to meet the increase.
As Discretionary Housing Payments are not Benefit you cannot appeal against any decision made in the same way as you can about Housing Benefit. You do, however, have the right to ask the Council to look at the decision again. If you want your decision to be reviewed you should request this in writing with your reasons. This should be done within one month of the date of the letter telling you about the decision. If your request is later than this it should also contain reasons for the delay in requesting the revision.
To apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment you need to submit an application form. The details on the form together with the details you have already provided when applying for Benefit will be used to consider your application. It is important that you give as much information as you can to help us make a decision. The Benefits section will write and advise you of the decision on your application.
If your application is successful, we will expect you to work with us to find long term solutions to your financial situation.