Discretionary Housing Payments

If you’re receiving Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, but still need help paying your rent, you may be able to receive a Discretionary Housing Payment. 

A Discretionary Housing Payment might be given if your rent eligible for benefit has been restricted due to the number of bedrooms you have, or due to the local housing allowances, or if you are affected by the benefit cap.  These are only examples.

You can only get a Discretionary Housing Payment for a period when you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.   If you have rent arrears for a period when you were not on Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit a Discretionary Housing Payment cannot be paid for that period.

There are other circumstances in which a payment cannot be made.  These are shown in the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001.

The decision on whether to make a payment, and the amount of any payment, are at the discretion of the Council.

The amount we can spend each year depends on the amount of money we receive from central government.   Not everyone who claims will be given assistance or will receive the amount they apply for.

Payments may be either one payment or a series of payments, for example monthly. 

Please read the notes on the application form before making an application.

Claim a Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payment policy​​​​​​​

Some examples of why a Discretionary Housing Payment might be paid (there may be reasons not listed):

  • your rent eligible for benefit has been restricted because of the number of bedrooms you have 
  • your rent eligible for benefit has been restricted because of the local housing allowances 
  • you are affected by the benefit cap
  • you have medical expenses or other outgoings which most people do not have  
  • you have exceptional hardship.  

A Discretionary Housing Payment will not be paid for the following:

  • water, meals, fuel or other ineligible charges included in your rent
  • shortfall in housing benefit due to an overpayment being recovered
  • rent arrears for a period when you were not on housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • shortfall caused by certain sanctions and reductions in benefit

Benefit and debt advice

If you need a discretionary housing payment, you may find it helpful to receive advice about how you can maximise your income and save money on bills. There are a range of advice agencies in Camden that provide independent advice.