Discretionary housing payments
If your housing benefit doesn't cover all of your rent you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment if you're finding it difficult to pay the rest of your rent.
What is a discretionary housing payment?
A discretionary housing payment can be paid to you if:
- you are receiving housing benefit, and
- the benefits you receive doesn't cover all of your rent, and
- you're finding it difficult to pay the rest of your rent.
Discretionary housing payments can be paid weekly, or can be a lump sum. They may also be backdated.
Who can get a discretionary housing payment?
Anyone can get a discretionary housing payment. It's up to your housing benefit department to decide who should be given the payments. They will usually take into account any special circumstances that contribute to your financial difficulties, for example, if:
- you have to pay child maintenance
- you have to pay legal costs
- you have extra heating costs because you spend a lot of time at home because you are sick or disabled
- you have additional travel costs because you travel to a doctor or hospital or you care for a relative or friend
- you're having difficulty covering your rent after your housing benefit has been reduced.
How can I claim a discretionary housing payment?
Ask for a 'discretionary housing payment' form from your local council office and fill this in. Make sure you get the right form - it's different from the one you filled in when you first claimed housing benefit. If you need any help speak to an adviser in your local area.
What information should I send with the claim?
You will be asked to give evidence of how much money you spend each month. This could be a copies of bills or your bank statements. You should also provide any information about your circumstances that make things difficult for you financially.
If I don't get it, can I appeal?
No. You can ask the council to have another look at their decision but if they don't change their mind, you can't take the matter any further.