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Discretionary Housing Payment

The Discretionary Housing Payment fund is a "cash limited" fund available for "short term" assistance for those people who face "real hardship" as a result of not being able to meet their housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments are available to assist council tenants, tenants of registered social landlords and tenants who are renting in the private sector.

The fund was not designed to offer long-term solutions to meeting housing costs.

Circumstances where you might qualify

In order to be considered for a DHP you must be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (with Housing Support) and have a rental liability. You must also have a shortfall between the amount of benefit being received and the amount of rent that is due to be paid.

Some examples of where DHP can be awarded include where you are:

  • Subject to Under Occupancy, sometimes called the bedroom tax. From April 2014 the Scottish Government made the decision to offset the impact of the bedroom tax for all those receiving Housing Benefit. An application must still be made, however no further financial assessment is required.
  • Benefit Cap - If your housing benefit has been reduced as the benefit cap has been applied by the Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Having difficulty in meeting the shortfall in your rental liability for any other reason
  • Having difficulty in meeting rent deposit or rent in advance payments.
  • Moving home and require assistance with removal costs.

Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment

Applications can be made

How we make a decision

Before considering awarding a DHP it is important to check that all other benefits have been claimed and are being paid at the appropriate rate. The DHP award must not exceed the weekly eligible rent. This will usually be paid for a short period of time although there will be some circumstances where the award will last for a longer period.

Providing Evidence

We may ask you to provide evidence to support your Discretionary Housing Payment application. The quickest and easiest way to provide evidence is to upload this online using our evidence upload form.

Alternatively evidence can be submitted at your local Customer Information Service centre (CIS), details of your local CIS office including opening times can be found here, or by post at the address below:

The Benefits Team
Revenues Unit
Civic Centre
Howden South Road
West Lothian
EH54 6FF

How long can I expect to wait to hear the outcome of my DHP application?

We aim to look at your application within 10 working days of receipt, if all necessary information is supplied. We will contact you if we need further information. We will write to you confirming our decision.

What happens if I disagree with the decision?

If you disagree with the decision about your DHP application you can ask us to look at your case again.  There is no formal right of appeal against a decision not to award a DHP, however you may request a reconsideration of the decision and you should do so within one month of the date of the notification letter. The decision can also be looked at again in the light of any new information presented to us or whenever we consider it to be appropriate.

What happens to a DHP award if I have a change in my circumstances, what do I do?

You must tell us immediately as it could affect your eligibility or the amount you receive. If your award of Housing Benefit changes this may affect the amount of DHP awarded.