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Have you heard about Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)? If you are already receiving Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC) with a housing cost element for rental costs, and you can’t manage to pay your rent due to hardship or because of Welfare reform (for instance if you’ve moved onto UC from other benefits) then you may be eligible to apply for DHP.
What is DHP? The government has given councils funding to give DHPs to people who have been impacted by welfare reforms including:
Your Council can pay this extra money if your Housing Benefit or housing element if Universal Credit doesn’t cover all your rent. As it is a discretionary payment, there is no “right” to it and no appeal if you are turned down. There is an annual allocation of funding to Councils from the Government. When it is all awarded, it means there is no more funding available until the next financial year. An award usually lasts between 13 weeks and 6 months. In some circumstances it may be extended. At the end of an award you can reapply.
DHPs are also available to contribute to the cost of moving home for low income households, if moving to a more affordable home. To qualify you need to demonstrate that you are in severe financial hardship. This article from Citizen’s Advice gives more information.
How do I apply? You apply to your local council. Bracknell Forest has an application form available for download online.
What about help with Council Tax? If you already get Council Tax Discount but are still struggling, you may apply to the Council’s discretionary Council Tax Hardship Fund. This is for people who are unable to pay for the essential needs of themselves and their family. There is no right of financial support.
Have your problems with paying rent and/or Council Tax arisen because you find it difficult to budget and manage your finances? You may find that looking at this article might help.
For general information about help with rent see the Citizens Advice article Get Help with Renting Costs.
More information and and a benefits calculator see the Citizens Advice article What Benefits Can I Get.
If you need help with this or any other Debt or Benefits issues, you can contact your local Citizens Advice.