We are seeking your views on our draft Discretionary Housing Payments policy.
The consultation is open until Friday 20 March 2015.
Have your say and take part in the consultation.
Download our draft Discretionary Rate Relief Policy (PDF 110kb).
The Council has powers to award help in addition to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to assist claimants who might need further help with their housing costs. These are known as Discretionary Housing Payments.
We receive some money from the Government towards these payments. The amount we can spend each year is restricted and not everyone who claims will therefore get this extra help.
To qualify for this additional help certain conditions apply:
The amount we grant is entirely at the discretion of the Council but a Discretionary Housing Payment cannot help you with charges such as heating, lighting, hot water and other fuel costs or charges for water rates, sewerage and environmental charges. You cannot receive a payment to make up for reductions in other social security benefits as a result of any sanctions applied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Each case will be considered on its own merit. We will look at the individual circumstances of the claim. We will consider if there are other options available to you and look in more detail at your expenses.
You should write to us setting out your reasons why you should be considered for this extra help. A form giving support to your application is available at any of our offices.
To download a Discretionary Hardship Payment form use the link below
All Local Authorities now have the powers to make a discretionary award to top up the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefits statutory schemes. This was introduced on 02 July 2001.
The legislation governing DHPs can be found in the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001 (S1 001 / 1167).
DHPs are a widely available scheme to help with housing costs, where Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit payments under the statutory scheme are insufficient.
A DHP is available to every claimant, who has a shortfall between their rental liability and payment of Housing Benefit and/or a shortfall between Council Tax liability and entitlement to Council Tax Benefit, providing they are in receipt of a minimum amount of the relevant benefit.
The main features of the scheme are: