Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme
The Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme (DHP) gives Local Authorities the power to make payments, to individuals, which top up their Housing Benefit.
The DHP Scheme can also assist in limited circumstances with rent deposits and rent in advance.
The individual must be entitled to some Housing Benefit before they can make an application to the scheme.
The scheme is aimed at helping individuals in the short term, who are experiencing either exceptional financial or personal difficulties or both.
As its name suggests, the scheme is discretionary i.e. there is no automatic right to a payment from the scheme.
If you disagree with a decision you have the right to request a review of that decision. A request for a review should be made in writing to the Revenues and Benefits Service (contact details below) within one month of receiving the decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
I receive full Housing Benefit, but I am still struggling financially. Can I still get a Discretionary Housing Payment?
No, the scheme is aimed at topping up any payment of Housing Benefit.
If you receive full benefit entitlement you cannot receive a DHP unless you are applying for a past period when you were receiving only partial Housing Benefit.
The exception to this rule is if you need help to pay a deposit or rent in advance on a new home, you may still receive a DHP even if you are in receipt of full Housing Benefit. An award of DHP will depend on the applicants individual circumstances.
Who is entitled to apply?
You must be resident in Angus, and be entitled to some Housing Benefit.
Who decides if I will qualify for a payment?
A panel consisting of 2 or more Senior Officers within the Revenues and Benefits Service will decide who will receive a payment.
They will look at each application on its own merits and they will take into account the impact of the UK Governments Welfare Reforms and the purpose for requesting a DHP:
- Those affected by the Benefit Cap
- Those affected by Social Sector Size Criteria
- Those affected by Local Housing Allowance restrictions
- A combination of the above reforms
- Those applying for reasons other than Welfare Reform
The purpose for applying can fall into the following categories:
- To help secure a move to alternative accommodation (such as rent deposits)
- To help with short term rental costs while trying to secure a move to alternative accommodation
- To help with short term rental costs while you seek employment
- To help with ongoing rental costs for a disabled person residing in adapted accommodation
- To help in general with ongoing rental costs (this will cover any other relevant purpose)
The panel will also take into account any other relevant factors such as:
- Whether or not the household is facing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
- Whether the household is vulnerable and an award of DHP would assist the household to sustain their current tenancy.
- Whether the applicant is experiencing personal and difficult events
- Whether the applicant is helping themselves
- Whether the applicant is a young person requiring support in the transition to adult life.
- Whether the award would encourage and sustain applicant in employment. e.g. the award assists people who need to live near their jobs because they work unsocial hours or split shifts or there is inadequate public transport.
- Whether the award promotes good educational outcomes for the children and young people.
- Whether the award assists a household with social work intervention.
- Whether the award assists people with health or medical problems, who need access to local medical services or support that might not be available elsewhere.
- Whether the award assists people with disabilities who need adaptations to their property
- Whether the award assists people with disabilities who received informal care and support in their current neighbourhood from family and friends which would not be available in a new area.
- Whether the award assists the elderly frail who have lived in the area for a long time and would find it difficult to establish support networks in a new area.
In looking at these factors, the panel will consider:
- The applicant's financial and medical circumstances and those of any other person in the household.
- The applicants income and expenditure
- Any steps taken to reduce the amount of rent or council tax due
- The difference between the Housing Benefit and the actual rent
- The amount of money available in the scheme budget at the time of the application
- Whether the help needed is for a temporary period or long term.
How long will I have to wait for a decision on my application?
DHP applications will be processed as soon as all the required supporting evidence has been received.
However should you fail to provide the required supporting evidence within one calendar month your application for DHP may be rejected. This means you will have to make a fresh application.
How much help could I receive and for how long?
The amount paid varies from applicant to applicant, and will not automatically be the total difference between your rent and Housing Benefit. The minimum length of an award is one week and will not normally exceed 12 months.
How are these payments made?
Payments will be made along with your Housing Benefit payment.
If your Housing Benefit is paid direct to your landlord, your DHP will also be paid direct to your landlord.
Where the DHP request is for rent in advance or a deposit, the award will normally be paid direct to the landlord.
I have an award of DHP and my circumstances have changed. What should I do?
If you are already in receipt of a DHP and your circumstances change e.g. you move house or there is a change in your financial circumstances, you must inform the Revenues and Benefits Service immediately.
If you do not, it may result in you having to repay some of the DHP already awarded.
Can I get help from any other source?
If you need help to access any benefits or grants that you may be entitled to, you can visit the Turn2us website. They are a charitable organisation that offer help and advice and provide a free to use benefit calculator that enables to you to find out if you may be entitled to any other benefits or grants.
Who do I contact for further information on DHP's?
The Revenues and Benefits Service
Angus DD5 4JG
Tel: 01382 536500
Service Page: dhp.htm
Service Details Last Reviewed : 29 March 2013