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Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) help people who need extra help with their rent when their housing benefit does not meet the full value of their rent. If you are suffering severe financial hardship as a result, or your tenancy is at risk, you may be able to get a discretionary payment to help.
 
DHPs are typically provided on a temporary basis to help people over a difficult period or to find alternative accommodation. There may be longer-term DHPs but all awards must be awarded for a fixed period to be reviewed periodically.

How to apply for a payment

If you think that you need this extra help, you need to complete a discretionary housing payment application form and send it to the address below giving us as much information as possible to help us understand why your circumstances are special. All the information you give is confidential and we will only use it to see if we can give you extra help.

If you require an application form,  please contact us:

When we can make a payment

All DHP applications will be assessed on individual and household circumstances and take account of levels of income and benefit received.
  
We can only make a DHP if we believe that the person's circumstances call for further financial help. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The finances and personal circumstances of the applicant are carefully considered and taken into account. Each application is considered on a range of criteria including:

  • How much is the rental liability?
  • What is the housing benefit entitlement?
  • What is the shortfall between the liability and the award?
  • Has the property been adapted?
  • What is the household composition?
  • Does the customer have any available income?
  • Any relevant imminent changes of circumstance.
  • Is the customer vulnerable?
  • Does any member of the household have relevant medical issues?
  • Are there are any specific needs or expenses associated with disability?
  • Are there any particular needs associated with children or other caring responsibilities?
  • Is the customer in rent arrears? 

Certain vulnerable groups can be prioritised for awards and factors that could be considered in determining need and priority would include:

  • Whether anybody in the household has particular needs associated with  disability or ill-health
  • Whether the accommodation has been adapted because of a disability 
  • Whether anybody in the household has a caring responsibility and consequential accommodation needs
  • Whether the household needs specific accommodation due to fostering
  • Whether anybody in the household has a relevant medical need
  • Whether there is a young child in the household attending school
  • Whether it is possible or practical for the claimant to look for alternative accommodation. 

When we can't make a payment 

There are a number of exclusions that are not covered by DHPs including:

  • Council tax
  • Ineligible service charges (these are charges which housing benefit cannot legally support)
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears 
  • Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit (this might relate, for example, to a sanction applied by the Department of Work Pensions in relation to seeking employment or a counter fraud punishment).

How are payments made? 

Any DHP awarded will be paid along with your award of housing benefit either to you or directly to your landlord.

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Information for where you live

Contact

Benefits

housing.benefits@westlancs.gov.uk

0300 7900380*

*Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls. These rules apply to calls from any type of line including mobile, BT, other fixed line or payphone

Revenues and Benefits Service
PO Box 16
Ormskirk
L39 2DF