Northumberland County Council > Housing > Housing benefit > Discretionary housing payments

Housing Benefit Discretionary housing payments (DHP)

also known as: DHP, Discretionary housing payments.

Discretionary Housing Payments are for people receiving Housing Benefit who require further financial assistance with their housing costs.

Discretionary Housing Payments

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What are Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP's)?

Discretionary Housing Payments are additional payments for people currently receiving Housing Benefit who require further financial assistance with their housing costs.

A limited budget is set by central government on the amount that can be spent each year on Discretionary Housing Payments.  These payments, and the period for which they last, are set at the discretion of Northumberland County Council.

If you are already getting all of your rent paid by Housing Benefit you cannot get Discretionary Housing Payments.


What can a Discretionary Housing Payment cover?

A discretionary housing payment may be used to pay for:

  • Your rent where it has been restricted by the Rent Officer and your Housing Benefit award is less than the rent charged.
  • Reductions in your Housing Benefit entitlement following changes to the Local Housing Allowance from April 2011.
  • Increases in essential work related expenditure, such as increased fares to work if you have had to move because you could no longer afford to live near your work following a reduction in your Local Housing Allowance rate.
  • A rent deposit or rent in advance for a property that you are yet to move into if you are already entitled to Housing Benefit for your present home.

Please note that these are only examples of when we may pay a Discretionary Housing Payment.  If your circumstances are different you should still apply.


Is there anything Discretionary Housing Payments would not be awarded for?

We cannot give Discretionary Housing Payments towards:

  • Ineligible service charges
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding arrears
  • Reductions in any benefit as a result of Jobseeker’s sanctions, Child Support sanctions or sanctions following certain benefit related offences
  • Suspended Housing Benefit
  • Rent, when you are getting Council Tax Support but not Housing benefit
  • Shortfalls caused by overpayment recovery


How much can I get and for how long?

How much we give you depends on your circumstances.  We look at each case individually.  However, we cannot guarantee we will definitely give you a payment even if you meet any of the reasons above.

For Housing Benefit, we cannot give you more than your total rent (less amounts for services such as electricity or water). 


How do I apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment?

If you would like to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment please telephone 0845 600 6400 or contact us at the address below.  Alternatively please print and complete the application form below and return it to the Benefits Section.  Click here for a Discretionary Housing Payment Form

We will look at the following things when we make a decision:

  • Your income
  • Your savings
  • If anyone else in your house can help you
  • If you have any loans or debts
  • If you could manage your money better
  • If you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • If you have tried to put the situation right yourself


What should I do if I disagree with your decision?

Decisions on claims for Discretionary Housing Payments are not subject to appeals to the Appeals Service.  If you disagree with the decision on your claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment you should write to the council. The decision will be reviewed by a different officer.


What if my circumstances change?

You should tell us immediately if your circumstances change.  If the change means we have to reduce your Discretionary Housing Payment, you might have to pay back some or all of the payment we have already paid you.


Contact Details

For further information or specific help with information on this page, please contact us:

Benefits SectionIRRV
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL

Tel No 0845 600 6400


The council now offers nine local area code telephone numbers for customers to use when calling the central contact centre.  For more details about the numbers, along with frequently asked questions, please click here.

Fax No 01670 620098




Useful websites:

General information may be available from the following websites:

Citizens Advice

Money Advice Service

Department for Work and Pensions

Age UK


Language Services

If you would like any benefit document in a different format, or if you need any help with language or translations please telephone 0845 600 6400 and we will do all we can to help.

You may also wish to use the facilities available on all of our web pages including page translation, accessibility and text size options.  Please see the links at the top of each web page.