What is a discretionary housing payment?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are short-term payments to help people with their rent if they are experiencing financial hardship. They can be awarded as a one-off payment or as a series of payments.

DHPs are not Housing Benefit. However, to receive a DHP you must be  receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which includes an amount for housing costs.

DHPs are paid from a limited budget and each request is considered on its own merits. Please complete the application form carefully and provide as much relevant information as possible to support your application.

Apply Online

What can DHP's help with?

DHPs can be awarded to top up Housing Benefit or the Housing Element in Universal Credit where there is a difference between the amount you are charged in rent and the amount you have to pay after Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been awarded.

If you have been affected by changes to the Benefit Cap you can claim a DHP

DHPs are paid from a limited budget and each request is considered on its own merits

Other types of shortfall DHP can be used to help with

  • You are under occupying your property and your housing benefit has a reduction because of this
  •  The rent you pay is considered too high for the property you occupy
  • You are single, under 35 years of age and are living in a one-bedroom flat or larger property
  • Your benefit is being reduced because there is a non-dependant in the household;
  • Where your income is above the level the Government says you need, but you are still struggling to pay your rent

The award

There are no set criteria for deciding whether you can have a discretionary payment. We will look at each application carefully and consider your individual circumstances.

We will consider things like :

  • The amount you get in housing benefit/universal credit and the amount of council tax you have to pay.
  • The financial and medical circumstances of you and anyone who lives with you
  • The income and expenditure of you and anyone who lives with you
  • Your savings and investments and any held by anyone else living with you
  • Any debts owed by you or anyone else who lives with you
  • If you have any exceptional circumstances
  • If you have been affected by Welfare Reform changes
  • Any other special situations

The amount of discretionary payment and the period of the award

We will tell you how much we have awarded and the period we have given it to you for.

You may not get as much as you need to pay your full rent or the award may not be for as long as you would like.

If you get an award there is no guarantee that another award will be made at a later date even if your circumstances have not changed. 

I don't agree with your decision, what do I do?

There is no right of appeal to an independent tribunal. However, you can ask us to look at our decision again and another decision maker will look at your application. This is called reviewing the decision.

 You can ask for a review if:

  • we have refused your award, or
  • we have awarded a reduced amount, or
  • we have told you we have overpaid you

 Ask for a reconsider

Do you need help with your council tax?

If you need extra help to pay your council tax, you can make claim for a payment under the discretionary council tax reduction scheme.

You can make a claim at the same time you make a claim for a discretionary housing payment, or just for discretionary council tax reduction scheme on its own

Apply online  

Housing Benefits

Bolton Council

P.O. Box 4



Telephone 01204 331590
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