How much Discretionary Housing Payments Can I get?
If the purpose of the DHP is to meet a shortfall in housing benefit it is up to the council how much of the shortfall they decide to meet. If your rent is higher than your housing benefit award the council may agree to meet the shortfall for a period of time but ask you to start looking for cheaper accommodation.
The DHP paid must not exceed the weekly eligible rent on your home. For example, if you are allowed £175 pw from housing benefit and you were successful in a claim in DHP, you would ne be able to receive an additional payment of anything higher than £175 per week.
For lump sum payments like deposit or rent in advance this limit does not apply but the council will need to consider their budget for DHP as once it’s gone they can’t get any more.
How is DHP controlled?
How long you receive DHP for and what you need to do if your circumstances change is covered in our other article.
How to Claim Discretionary payments
Is covered in our other article
Discretionary Housing payments claim form
Is covered in our other article
What is NOT covered with DHP payments?
Generally the local council will not consider the following items when deciding whether to award a DHP or not.
Ineligible charges: service charges that are not eligible for HB cannot be covered by a DHP. These are as specified in Schedule 1 to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and Schedule 1 to the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006. Nor can DHPs cover charges for water, sewerage, and environmental services – as defined and calculated under the HB provisions.
Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears: Regulation 11(3) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and Regulation 11(2) of the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006 refer. This refers to those cases where a customer’s rent is increased on account of outstanding arrears which are owed by the customer in respect of their current or former property.
Any shortfall in the second adult rebate element of a person’s CTB: this is to ensure that DHPs are not made in cases when a person is not entitled to CTB in their own right, but is getting a second adult rebate. In such cases DHPs cannot meet any shortfall between the second adult rebate and the council tax liability, because the second adult rebate relates to the circumstances of the other person in the household and not the customer themselves.
Sanctions and reductions in benefit: DHPs cannot meet these because to do so would undermine the effectiveness of the sanctions or reduction in benefit. These are
- any reduction in Income Support (IS) or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA(IB)) due to a Reduced Benefit Direction (RBD) for failure to comply with the Child Support Agency in arranging maintenance. The RBD is a reduction in benefit of 40% of the personal allowance and only applies to IS or JSA(IB)
- any reduction in benefit as a result of non-attendance at a work- focused interview. This applies both where the person’s HB/CTB is reduced and when any other benefit that the person is receiving, such as IS is subject to a sanction
- any reduction or loss of benefit due to a JSA employment sanction. JSA is not payable for the period of sanction if they have contributed
- towards their unemployed status, for example, by leaving employment voluntarily or failing to attend a prescribed training scheme. In such cases, it may be possible for a reduced rate of JSA to be paid under the JSA hardship provisions
- any reduction in benefit due to a JSA sanction for 16/17 year olds – for certain young people who receive JSA under a Severe Hardship Direction. JSA is not payable for the period of the sanction if they have contributed towards their unemployed status, for example, by leaving unemployment voluntarily or failing to attend a prescribed training scheme, or
- any restriction in benefit due to a breach of a community service order
Benefit suspensions: HB or CTB can be suspended either because there is a general doubt about entitlement or because a customer has failed to supply information pertinent to their claim. In such cases, it would not be permissible to pay DHPs instead. One of the intentions of
the suspension provisions is to act as a lever to ensure that the customer takes the necessary steps to provide the authority with the necessary information/evidence - paying DHPs could reduce the effectiveness of this lever.
Rent, when the person is getting CTB but not HB (and vice versa in relation to Council Tax): in other words, when a person is only getting HB, you should not take into account any financial assistance that they may require with their Council Tax, when considering the award of a DHP. Similarly, where the person is entitled to CTB but not HB, you should not take into account any liability to make rent payments.
Shortfalls caused by HB/CTB overpayment recovery: when recovery of an HB/CTB overpayment is taking place, such shortfalls should not be considered for a DHP.