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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are funded by the Scottish Government and can provide financial assistance for housing costs where your rent is not fully covered by either Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of your Universal Credit. To apply you must:

  • be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with housing costs
  • have a shortfall between that award and your rent, or
  • be affected by the Benefit Cap restriction

How to apply for a DHP

We can make an award for DHP over the phone without the need for an assessment if:

  • the shortfall is due to the under occupancy restriction (sometimes referred to as ‘bedroom tax’)
  • you are affected by Benefit Cap restrictions and are in receipt of the housing element of your Universal Credit

Call Customer Contact on 01563 554400 (Option three) to complete a short telephone application process. DHP in these circumstances is not time limited and will continue for as long as you are affected without the need to re-apply.

We can also award DHP to help with a rent shortfall due to:

  • Local Housing Allowance (LHA) restrictions
  • how your income is assessed

In these circumstances we will need to make an assessment of your circumstances. You can complete our online form below:

Discretionary Housing Payment assessment form

We cannot award DHP to help with a shortfall due to:

  • service charges not covered by your housing benefit or housing cost award
  • an overpayment being recovered or rent arrears
  • benefit payments being sanctioned or suspended
  • if you are only entitled to Council Tax Reduction and have no housing costs

Assessing your application

We look at the following when we make a decision:

  • your regular income and expenditure
  • your savings and any outstanding loans or debts
  • if anyone in your house or family can help you financially
  • if you could manage your money better
  • if you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • if you have made efforts to find a more affordable place to live

The application asks for information about all of this, if we need more we will contact you. We may require evidence, if so we will contact you to explain what we need and why. 

How much is paid and how long for

How much you get depends on your circumstances and there is no guarantee that you will receive a payment. We can pay DHP for different periods of time.

With the exception of under occupancy and benefit cap awards, most awards are for short-term periods only, with the usual award being for 13 weeks. We normally do not renew awards unless your circumstances are very severe.

How payments are made 

If your application is successful, we will usually pay your DHP with any Housing Benefit that you receive, although a DHP is not a benefit payment. If you receive Universal Credit we will pay your DHP every four weeks by bank transfer, this will either be paid directly to your landlord or directly to you in some circumstances. If so, we will require your bank details to make payment.

If you disagree with our decision

DHP is not the same as housing benefit or universal credit. There is no statutory appeals process. If you disagree with our decision you can write to us within one month of the date on the decision letter telling us why you do not agree. We will consider your application again and write to you with our decision. There is no further course of appeal to the Appeals Tribunals Service if you still disagree with our final decision.

A change of circumstances

If your circumstances change you must tell us within one month by emailing or phoning Customer Contact on 01563 554400 (option three). We will look at the DHP we awarded and assess if it needs to be changed. In some circumstances we might be able to pay you more. If, however, we think you should get less you might have to pay back some or all of the DHP already paid.

Contact Information

Benefits Section
John Dickie Street
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400