This page provides further information about Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), how long a claim can take to process, if your claim can be backdated and how we look at income and childcare costs when looking at a claim.
From 1 April 2013 a DHP can no longer be claimed to help towards the cost of your Council Tax. A DHP will only be available as if you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Discretionary housing payments
DHPs are not payments of benefit but a payment made in addition to Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs within Universal Credit when it appears to the Local Authority that the claimant may need some further financial assistance in order to meet rental costs.
There is a limited amount of money that Local Authorities have to use for DHPs and as the payments are discretionary each case is looked at individually.
We will look at things like your financial circumstances including income, outgoings and savings and the shortfall between your Housing Benefit or Housing Costs within the Universal Credit and the amount you have to pay.
- We need to know about any special circumstances such as medical problems which need consideration.
- We also need look at how much is in the fund when we consider your application.
- You can find further information on our Discretionary Housing Payments page.
Please download a Discretionary Housing Payment application form (PDF, 80KB) , sign and return it.
We try hard to deal with your claim as soon as possible. If you are asked to supply evidence to support your claim please do not delay providing this.
The sooner we get all of your evidence the sooner we can make a decision.
If you are struggling to make a claim or provide us with evidence, please contact us. If we contact you via secure email we will use Egress.
If you qualify for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support we will normally pay your benefit from the Monday following the date of first contact from you, as long as we receive your claim form within one calendar month from this date.
It is important you get your claim form to us as soon as possible or you may miss out on benefit.
If you are of working age you may be able to apply for backdating up to a maximum of 1 month for Housing Benefit and a maximum of 13 weeks for Council Tax Support.
If you are pensionable age then backdating is for a maximum of 3 months.
You must put your request in writing to us and you must show continuous good cause throughout the period you wish us to consider.
This might be because you were ill and no one else was able to claim on your behalf or you were unable to manage your own affairs and you didn't have an appointee.
The good cause shown must also be continuous, this means that, for example, if you were ill and unable to claim, as soon as you were well again you would have to claim straight away otherwise we would be unable to backdate.
Each case will be looked at based on its individual circumstances.
If we decide not to backdate your claim, or if you don’t agree with the date we backdate it to, then you have the right to appeal against our decision.
How we treat your earnings
When we look at your income, we will look at all the money that you have coming in from earnings. This will also include any tips or bonuses, overtime, money you get instead of your normal pay or money you get from holidays you did not take.
We will then deduct any Tax, National Insurance and half of any money paid towards a private or occupational pension from this.
To determine how much of your income we use, to calculate Housing Benefit (All Ages) or Council Tax Support if you are of pensionable age, we will deduct the following from your earnings:
- If you are single, the first £5.00.
- If you are a couple, the first £10.00.
- If you are disabled or a carer, the first £20.00.
- If you are a single parent, the first £25.00
If you are of working age and claiming Council Tax Support, to determine how much of your income we use, to calculate Council Tax Support, we will deduct the following from your earnings:
- If you are single, the first £10.00.
- If you are a couple, the first £15.00.
- If you are disabled or a carer, the first £25.00.
- If you are a single parent, the first £30.00
If you have recently started trading on a self employed basis we will ask you for an estimate of your likely income and expenses of your business for the first few months trading. If you do not have this we will estimate an income based on the number of hours you intend to work. If you have been trading for over 12 months we will ask for a full years trading figures. These figures will be in addition to any other money you have coming into your household.
We will ask for details of all of your expenses but only those that are 'wholly and exclusively' incurred in relation to your business are allowed for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support purposes.
Self Employed Childminders are treated differently. Instead of working out their actual expenses, two thirds of their income is disregarded. The remaining third becomes their income for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support purposes.
If you are self employed in a partnership we will divide the pre-tax profit equally between all partners, unless there is a formal agreement that shows us we should work this out differently.
If you pay into a private pension please let us know as half of any pension payments can be taken off your earned income.
If you are self-employed you will need to complete an online Self-Employed Earnings Form in addition to a full claim form and if you are a Taxi Driver you will have to complete a further online Taxi Driver Self Employed form.
How we deal with childcare costs
You may be entitled to more Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support if you pay the extra cost of childcare. You may qualify for extra help if you are a couple and both of you work 16 hours of more, a couple where one is working 16 hours or more and the other partner is considered to be incapable of work or a lone parent who works 16 hours or more.
The child must be with a registered child-minder, or be in a childminding scheme for which registrations is not required, or any other out-of-school-hours scheme provided by a school or local authority.
If your child care falls into one of the above groups then the money you pay can be deducted from your earnings, of up to £175.00 per week for the first child and up to a maximum of £300 per week for 2 or more children.
This disregard is in addition to the other earnings disregards.
This help may continue up to the first Monday in September after the child’s 15th Birthday.
More information on childcare is available from the Family Information Service. You can also complete our online Child Care costs form .