Housing benefit additional help & advice

If you already claim housing benefit and need additional financial help, there are a number of different ways we may be able to help.

Discretionary housing payments are additional payments for those currently receiving housing benefit or universal credit that includes a housing element towards rental liability and require further financial assistance with their housing costs.

Please also have a look at our discretionary housing payment policy and discretionary housing payment factsheet.

If you are getting all of your rent paid by housing benefit, you cannot get discretionary housing payments.
  • 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 or Universal Credit 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 advance for a property you are yet to move into, if you are already entitled to housing benefit or Universal Credit 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.
  • ineligible service charges
  • increases in rent due to outstanding arrears
  • sanctions and reductions in any benefit following benefit related offences
  • suspended housing benefit or universal credit
  • rent when you are getting council tax support, but not housing benefit or help with housing costs in universal credit
  • shortfalls caused by housing benefit or universal credit overpayment recovery

Telephone: 0345 600 6400 (charged at your local rate)

Email: Complete the discretionary housing payment online form and then email the form and your supporting evidence to benefits@northumberland.gov.uk

Download and email or post: Print and complete the discretionary housing payment application form and then email it and your supporting evidence to benefits@northumberland.gov.uk or post it to 
Benefit Section, Northumberland County Council, Wansbeck Square, Ashington, NE63 9XL

How much we give you depends on your circumstances, but we cannot guarantee you will receive a payment. We look at each case individually and will look at the following things:
  • your income and 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 anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • if you have tried to right the situation yourself
Please note: for housing benefit we cannot give you more than your total rent (less amounts for electricity or water).
Decisions on claims for discretionary housing payments are not subject to appeals. If you disagree with the decision on your claim, you should write to the council, and the decision will be reviewed by a different officer:

Benefit Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL
If your circumstances change, inform us immediately. If the change means we have to reduce your discretionary housing payment, you may have to pay back some or all of the payment we have already paid to you.
Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) provides crisis support to residents of Northumberland.

For further information on Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) please click here
If your job finishes due to redundancy or a voluntary severance scheme, you may need to claim social security benefits.

Payments you get from your employer in these situations may affect benefits and the rules surrounding this are complicated.

Therefore, we recommend you always seek independent advice.

The Money Advice Service provide useful information on redundancies.
If you are concerned about managing your money, or you have debts – try not to worry – but do not ignore your problem. If you cannot pay your rent because of money problems, you may be evicted from your home. You must ask for help.

If you are struggling to live on the money you have, or are experiencing problems with debt, you may want to think about whether you are getting all the benefits or tax credits you are entitled to.

For more information and advice, visit gov.uk.

The central government money advice section offers a wide range of public service information and links to other organisations you may find useful if you are looking for help/advice.