Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a short-term top up to a Housing Benefit award or Universal Credit Housing Element payment. DHPs allow people who are struggling to pay their rent some time to find a way to either reduce their housing costs or increase their income.

DHPs are only for rent. An award will be considered where there is a shortfall between your full rent and the amount of Housing Benefit award or Universal Credit Housing Element in payment. You can’t apply for a DHP to cover with non-rent costs such as water rates and service charges.

The following checkboxes are used for accordion drop-downs. When selected, they show content that was visually hidden

How to apply for or ask us to renew a Discretionary Housing Payment

You can make a new claim or renew your claim online.

Apply for or renew a Discretionary Housing Payment

Before you start the DHP claim form

You need to complete the form in one go, you can’t save it and go back later. It might take some time to fill in if there is a lot of information you need to give us.

Information we need from you

Before you start the form, make sure you have the following details ready:

  • you and any partner's national insurance number
  • dates of birth of people you live with
  • details of you and any partner’s income and spending
  • details of you and any partner’s savings and debts
  • your landlord's name, address and bank account details
  • your rent details including and rent arrears
  • the expected due date, if you or a family member are pregnant
  • the reason you need a DHP

If someone is helping you with your claim

If someone is helping with your claim and you want us to share information with them, you need to let us know you are happy for us to do so. See authority to discuss.

What happens after you apply

Once we have all the information we need, we will tell you our decision within 10 working days.

There is a process you can follow if you disagree with our decision.

If you get Housing Benefit your DHP will be paid with this either to you or your landlord. If you get the Housing Element of Universal Credit, the DHP will be paid to you.

You must tell us if anything changes that might affect your claim.

You can only apply for a DHP if you are already getting Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit, and the amount received doesn’t cover the full cost of your rent. DHPs aren’t benefits. No-one has an automatic right to one.

A DHP is not a long term solution. If we give you a DHP, there’s no guarantee you will get another one when the first one ends, even if your circumstances are the same. You might need to find a cheaper place to live if your rent is too high for you to manage on your level of income.

There is no fixed rate for a DHP. To make a decision about whether we can give you a DHP and how much we can give, we will look at all of the following:

  • your financial and medical circumstances, and those of your partner, any dependants and any other people who live in your home
  • your income and spending and that of your partner and any dependants or any other people who live in your home
  • the shortfall between the benefit you are getting to help you pay your rent and what rent you are liable to pay
  • your family’s level of debt and any arrangements you have made to reduce the debts
  • any special circumstances that apply
  • any steps you have taken to reduce the rent - for example, have you talked to your landlord?
  • the possible impact on us of not making the award – for example, will you be likely to need priority homeless accommodation if you don’t get a DHP?
  • any links you have with the area you live in
  • any steps you have made to find cheaper accommodation – for example, whether you are on waiting lists for other accommodation providers
  • if any restrictions apply to your rent because of under-occupancy rules, Local Housing Allowance rates or a Rent Officer decision

As the DHP fund is limited each year we will also take into account the amount of money left within the DHP fund, and how many more people might need extra help. The total we can spend on DHPs is set by central government.

For full details of our DHP policy, see Cheshire East Council Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme policy (PDF, 549KB)

For details of organisations who can give you advice about money matters and help you apply for benefits, see Live Well money matters.

If you require any further information – contact the benefits team.

For help submitting online forms, see help with online Benefits forms.

For information on customer centre opening times, locations and contact details, see our contact page. 

Document accessibility

Page last reviewed: 23 February 2024