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Housing benefit, council tax reduction

Housing benefit and discretionary housing payments

If you receive housing benefit, and are struggling to pay a shortfall in your rent, you may be able to apply for discretionary housing payments (DHP) to help you for a short period of time.

We consider each case on its own merit. We take into account the circumstances and, in particular, the effect a shortfall in benefit would have on you and your family.

One example of when discretionary housing payments can help is if you had a rent increase and it is not possible for your housing benefit to be increased to cover it.

How to claim

You can apply for discretionary housing payments by -

Who can claim

You can claim discretionary housing payments if -

  • you have unavoidable extra expenses because of special circumstances, such as disabilities, health problems or urgent debts
  • you have difficulty paying rent, while you are trying to find a cheaper property
  • there are special reasons why you need to stay in a particular property, but the rent officer has restricted the amount of rent we use when we work out your benefit

You can not claim for -

  • any part of your rent that is for services and not eligible for housing benefit (for example water rates, heating, meals)
  • increases to rent to collect outstanding arrears
  • loss of income if a claim for jobseekers allowance or income support has been suspended or you have had a sanction on your claim
  • a shortfall caused by the recovery of overpaid housing benefit

How much will I get

There is no fixed rate for such payments. The maximum we can award is the difference between the housing benefit you are already receiving and your eligible rent charge. The amount awarded is based on your individual circumstances, so it may be less than the difference.

How long do payments last

Discretionary housing payments are normally made for a short period, depending on your circumstances. You can apply for another award when the first has run out.

Please note -  

  • we cannot guarantee an award will be made even if your circumstances are such that you would expect to receive an award

  • you can no longer receive a discretionary housing payment in respect of council tax. Alternatively you can apply for a discretionary reduction on the grounds of exceptional grave hardship.

For more information visit council tax discretionary reduction  

Contact us

Hull City Council Revenues and Benefits Service
PO Box 15

Tel: 01482 300 303
Text phone: 01482 300 349

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