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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) may be made by way of financial assistance to claimants who are entitled to Housing Benefit or receiving housing cost payments through Universal Credit and who appear to require some financial assistance in order to meet housing costs.

Under these regulations the authority has the discretion as to whether or not to make payment in particular cases and as to the amount and period of award.

DHPs are extra payments to help pay rent. We give DHPs to people claiming benefit who need more help with their housing costs, if these are more than the amount of benefit they get.

DHP's are funded by the Scottish Government and in addition to helping those with a rent shortfall because of their benefit rate they provide funds to pay for those who are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and are under-occupied.

We cannot give DHPs for the following:

  • service charges not covered by Housing Benefit
  • to cover any shortfall in Housing Benefit that occurs due to an overpayment being recovered
  • when your Housing Benefit payments are suspended
  •  if you are only entitled to Council Tax Reduction and have no housing costs

How to apply for a DHP

  • you can complete our online form here.
  • you can only apply for a DHP if you are currently entitled to Housing Benefit or
    Universal Credit that includes housing costs.

How do you decide if I can have a DHP

We look at the following things when we make a decision:

  • your income
  • your savings
  • if anyone in your house or family can help you financially
  • if you have outstanding loans or debts
  • if you could manage your money better
  • if you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • if you have made an effort to improve your situation

We ask you for a lot of information and if we need more, we will write to you to ask for it. You may be asked to provide evidence, but if we need this we will contact you to explain what we need and why.

How much can I get and how long for?

How much you get depends on your circumstances. We look at each case individually. We can pay DHPs for different periods of time. However, there is no guarantee that you will actually get a payment. 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.

The exception to this is if you have an under-occupancy charge.  If you do we will pay the under-occupancy amount for the full year, you will not have to keep re-applying for this.

How are payments made? 

If your application is successful, we will usually pay your DHP with any Housing Benefit that you get, although a DHP is not a benefit payment.  If you are receiving Universal Credit we will pay your DHP every 4 weeks, this will normally be paid direct to your landlord.

What to do if you disagree with our decision

If you disagree with our decision, you should write to us within one month of the date on the decision letter, telling us why you do not agree with our decision. We will look at your application again and write to you with our decision

You cannot appeal to the Appeals Tribunals Service if you disagree with our decision not to pay you a DHP.

Change of circumstances

If your circumstances change you must tell us within one month. We will then look at the DHP we awarded and see whether it needs to be changed. We might be able to pay you more.

But if we think you should get less, you might have to pay back some or all of the DHP we have paid.

Contact Information

Benefits Section
John Dickie Street
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400