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Discretionary Housing Payments

What are Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)?

If you are getting Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit but still find it difficult to pay your rent and/or Council Tax, you may be able to get extra help towards your housing costs in the form of a DHP.

DHPs are not Benefit payments.  They are paid in addition to your benefit and are based on your circumstances.

Who can apply for a DHP?

You can apply for a DHP if you are already receiving Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit and that benefit does not cover the full amount of rent or Council Tax Liability.

What DHPs cannot pay for

DHPs cannot pay for the cost of things included in your rent like fuel, water, electricity or other service charges.  It cannot pay for arrears of rent or Council Tax.

How do I apply?

Contact the Council's Benefit Enquiry Office or Newcastle Housing Advice at Aspire Housing Ltd, for an application form.  Alternatively, you can download a form by opening the link opposite.

What information do I need to put on the application form?

Answer all the questions on the form giving as  much information as you can.

Tell us in your own words why you believe you require additional financial assistance to meet your housing costs.  Use another sheet of paper if you need to.

Tell us about any exceptional circumstances you have.  you may wish to provide evidence to support your application, for example a letter from your doctor.

Tell us about your weekly income and expenditure.  We may ask you to provide evidence of your expenses and debts.

Sign the declaration and return the form with any supporting evidence to Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council or Newcastle Housing Advice at Aspire Housing Ltd.

How long does a DHP last for if my application is succesful?

You will be notified of how long your DHP award will last (if your application is successful).  DHPs are awarded for a limited period only to give you time to alleviate your circumstances.

When a DHP award ends you can reapply but account may be taken of what efforts you have made, since your earlier application, to ensure you can meet your housing costs yourself.

How much will the DHP be?

If you are awarded a DHP the amount you get will depend on your circumstances and the reason it has been awarded.  It cannot be higher than the difference between your housing costs and your benefit entitlement.

How will the DHP be paid if your application is successful?

We will usually pay your DHP with any Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit that you already get.  If the award of the DHP is for help towards your Council Tax then payment will be made direct to your Council Tax account.

What if I disagree with the decision about my DHP application?

A DHP is not covered by the normal appeal rules that apply to Housing and Council Tax Benefit.  It is paid purely at the discretion of the Council.

However, if you disagree with our decision either not to award a DHP; or you disagree with the amount awarded or the period of the award, you can ask us to look at our decision again.

Write to us within one month of the date of our decision letter telling us why you do not agree with our decision.

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