Discretionary Housing Payments

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme can offer limited short term financial help with paying your rent.

A DHP is a short term emergency payment whilst you consider your future housing options. It should not be considered as a permanent way round any current or future entitlement restrictions set out within the Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC) scheme.

Before a DHP can be awarded: 

  • You must already be entitled to Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC).
  • You must require additional help with your housing costs ie have a shortfall between your rent and benefit entitlement. 
  • The Council must have sufficient funds available to cover the cost of your DHP.

DHP’s cannot be used for:

  • Ineligible service charges for HB. 
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears. 
  • Sanctions and reductions in benefit. 
  • Council Tax support through the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

In deciding whether to award a DHP, we take into account:

  • The shortfall between Housing Benefit and the housing component of UC and the contractual rent. 
  • The income and expenditure of you and your household. 
  • Any savings or capital that might be held by you or your household. 
  • Any steps taken to reduce your rental liability. For example, have you tried or are you actively seeking alternative cheaper accommodation. 
  • Any future changes in circumstances that will lead to an increase in HB entitlement or UC entitlement 
  • Did you find out what your Local Housing Allowance would be before moving into the property? 
  • Were you aware of any restrictions on HB as a result of under occupation? 
  • Have you applied for all available sources of income to you? The level of indebtedness and committed expenditure of you and your family.

How to apply

You must complete the Discretionary Housing Payment application form.  Alternatively you can e-mail us at to request a copy of the form.  A hard copy can be obtained from Halton Direct Link or call the Benefits Service on 0151 907 8302 for further information.