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Discretionary Housing Payment Guidance

You can claim Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if you are receiving housing benefits or council tax benefits. Usually, housing benefits and council tax benefits are used to help you pay the majority of your rent (or all of it in some cases), but you will be expected to pay the rest yourself. However, since the introduction on the Bedroom Tax in April 2013, some people may struggle to pay their rent and will therefore be eligible for DHP.

Discretionary Housing Payments and the Bedroom Tax

What is the bedroom tax?

The Bedroom Tax is due to be introduced in Apil 2013 and will effect anyone who is receiving housing benefits, or living in a council house and the government pays their rent. The Bedroom Tax dictates that anyone claiming benefits for their home will lose part of their benefits if they have a spare room not in use.

In the UK, there is a lot of controversary over the Bedroom Tax as it means most families or individuals will not be able to afford their home and will be forced to move. Disabled individuals and old people will also be heavily hindered by the reforms.

However, the current conservative government will not be removing the Bedroom Tax reform and has instead issued a Discretionary Housing Payment scheme for those who cannot afford to live under the new Bedroom Tax rules.

How much can I receive/who is eligible?

Each housing and benefit department is given a specific sum of money for the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. Anyone who is eligible for these payments will receive money, either on a weekly basis or in a lumpsum, to help pay additional rent. However, eligibility is decided by individual councils, and once the money runs out for the area there will be no more payments available.

Who will the council consider?

If you wish to apply for the Discretionary Housing Payment you need to contact your local council and fill in a special form. The council will take in special circumstances in your application, including:

  • whether you pay child maintenance;
  • if you pay any legal costs;
  • if your bills are high and you spend a lot of time at home because of an illness/disability;
  • additional travel costs to see relatives, friends, attend doctor's appointments or other special travel needs;
  • if you are likely to become homeless if payments are not made.

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