Applying for Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is money you can get from the council if your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit does not cover all your rent.

DHP can be a one-off or a regular payment. The council decides how much you can get and for how long.

Who can get Discretionary Housing Payment

You can apply if you get either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing payments, and your benefits don’t cover the full cost of your rent.

If you cannot afford your rent because of the bedroom tax, the council should always agree to give you DHP.

Otherwise, it’s up to the council to decide if you can get DHP. They’ll look at all your circumstances to make a decision.

DHP can be used to help pay:

  • some or all of the rent that’s not covered by your benefits

  • tenancy deposits and rent in advance

  • moving costs

  • rent arrears caused by a benefits shortfall

DHP will not affect your other benefits because it's not included in the benefit cap.

When DHP cannot be used

You cannot get DHP to pay council tax, or if you're short on rent because you're repaying a benefits overpayment.

How to apply

Apply through your council. Find your council's website on

When you apply, give as much detail as possible about why you’re struggling to pay your rent. For example, tell the council if:

  • you have any disabilities that affect your living costs

  • you have caring responsibilities that affect your costs

  • your rent shortfall is putting you at risk of becoming homeless

  • your benefits are affected by the bedroom tax, benefit cap, Local Housing Allowance, or non-dependent deductions

  • you’re struggling because of an unexpected event such as sickness, redundancy, relationship breakdown or bereavement

You'll usually need to give evidence, such as doctor’s letters.

If the council agrees to give you DHP, they should tell you:

  • how much you'll get

  • when you'll get the payment

  • how long you'll keep getting the payment

You’ll usually get DHP for a set number of months. After that, you can apply again if you still need the payments. The council will not automatically renew your payments or remind you.

Put a reminder in your calendar to re-apply when the payments end. If you’re not sure when you need to re-apply, ask the council.

If your application is turned down

You can ask the council to review their decision. Write to them and add as much information as you can about why you need the payment.

If your review is unsuccessful, the council should write to you telling you the reasons why.

Get help with money

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Last updated: 4 October 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England