Discretionary Housing Payments are awarded at the discretion of the local authority and therefore they are not an entitlement in the way that many other benefits are. Payments can be made to people who qualify for Housing Benefit (or the housing cost element of Universal Credit) who may need help to;
- Pay their rent, or
- Find enough money to pay for the start-up costs of a tenancy, such as rent deposits and removal costs.
If you need help you can apply to the local council for a Discretionary Housing Payment. This includes where you have been affected by the Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap.
To make a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment you will need to explain your personal circumstances and detail your household expenditure in order to demonstrate the need for extra help. Discretionary Housing Payments awarded to help with a rent shortfall will usually be limited however, for a specified amount of time – 13 or 26 weeks – and are therefore not a long term solution.
You are more likely to get a payment if you will not need it for very long. There is no time limit for making a claim, if a claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment is refused, that decision is not appealable to an independent Tribunal but you can request an internal review of the decision – write to your local council explaining why you disagree with their decision