What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments is a way of helping you if the Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Costs element) you get is not enough to pay your rent.

Discretionary Housing Payments are not the same as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. They are special payments, which come from a separate cash limited fund.

What supporting documents will we need?

To help us make a decision on your claim, we will need some supporting documents. We will need to see the following:

  • A screenshot or print out of your Universal Credit award if you receive this
  • Your tenancy agreement and proof of the current amount of rent charged
  • 2 months bank statements for all accounts that you or your partner (if you have one) hold

Depending on the reason you are applying, we will also need the following:

  • For rent in advance or deposit, proof of the rent in advance or deposit amount you are being asked to pay for your new property
  • For rent arrears, a rent statement confirming the amount and period of your arrears plus any notice seeking possession that you have been issued
  • For Removals three quotes obtained from removal or van hire companies indicating which one you have chosen to use.

Please send documents to benefit@midsussex.gov.uk or to PO Box 10607, Nottingham, NG6 6DU.  Providing these documents as soon as you make your application will help us to make a decision sooner.  As Discretionary Housing Payment decisions are made on your individual circumstances, there may be times when we need additional information or documents from you, and if this is the case, we will contact you.

The Award

There are no set criteria for deciding whether you can have a discretionary housing payment other than that you must be in receipt of Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit.

Each application is treated on its own merits. We will consider things like:

  • the amount you get in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Costs element) and the amount you have to pay
  • any efforts you have made to reduce your rent
  • your financial and medical circumstances and of anyone who lives with you
  • your income and expenditure and of anyone who lives with you
  • your savings and investments and any held by anyone else living with you
  • if you have any exceptional circumstances
  • the amount of money we have available in the fund when we consider your application
  • any other special situations

The amount of the Discretionary Housing Payment and the period of the award

We will let you know how much we have awarded and the period we have given it to you for.

You may not get as much as you need to pay your full rent. The award may not be for as long as you would like.

The Discretionary Housing Payment Fund is meant to help with short term emergencies. If you get an award there is no guarantee that another award will be made at a later date even if your circumstances have not changed.

If I don't get an award or my award has ended, can I apply again?

If you are refused an award, or have been awarded Discretionary Housing Payments and the award has ended, you can make a new application. This will not guarantee an award as your claim will still have to go through the decision making process.

I don’t agree with your decision, what do I do?

There is no right of appeal to an independent tribunal. However, you can ask us to look at our decision again and another decision maker will look at your application.

You can ask for a review if:

  • We have refused your award, or
  • We have awarded a reduced amount, or
  • We have told you we have overpaid you

Please contact us if you want us to look at our decision again

Last updated: 22 January 2024