Apply for Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) may be awarded when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs do not provide enough money to pay the rent.

How the payments work

Every year, we have a limited amount of money to help residents who may need extra financial support to meet their Housing Costs. 

Discretionary Housing Payments are not part of the normal Housing Benefit or Universal Credit schemes but are payments that may be made when extra financial support is needed. 

A Discretionary Housing Payment is not a benefit payment. The total weekly amount of any award, including Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs, will not be more than your actual eligible rent. Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be paid in respect of ineligible service charges (such as water rates, fuel charges, meals) or Council Tax costs.

When you're entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments are only available if you are already entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs, and the Council is satisfied you require additional financial assistance to meet your housing costs. This could be because:

  • your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit has been reduced due to the benefit cap
  • you are a social tenant and deemed to be under occupying your home
  • you are a private tenant and you rent is restricted due to a rent officer decision or the local housing allowance

You will not qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payments if:

  • you are already receiving all your eligible rent paid by Housing Benefit or your Universal Credit Housing Costs
  • the only shortfall is due to a previous overpayment
  • you require assistance to help towards charges that may be included in your gross rent that are not normally paid by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs, such as water rates, heating and lighting

The information required to make a claim

You must tell us why you think you need extra help to meet your housing costs, include information such as:

  • any disabilities or illnesses you or a member of your family may have
  • how your disability or illness may affect you financially (for example, extra costs) or prevents you from moving
  • details of income and spending, including debts
  • any change in circumstances that would make it more difficult for you to meet any rent shortfall
  • what would happen if you lost your home
  • any other special circumstances

As part of this we may ask to see other reasonable evidence to support the claim.

How to apply

You will need to apply in the area you live in.

Allerdale area

Apply in the Allerdale area

Carlisle area

Copeland area

Apply in the Copeland area

If you need help

If you are unable to make an application online contact us.

Telephone: 0300 373 3730

How your application is assessed

We will look at each case individually based on a person’s circumstances. We will write to tell you whether your application has been successful. 

Any award made for a short period will give you time to review and improve your financial circumstances. In any cases where there is no precise period by which your circumstances will improve, an award may still be made.

For any successful awards, a letter will include details of how much will be awarded, and the period it will cover.

How will it be paid

Any Discretionary Housing Payment award will be paid four-weekly in arrears by BACS, and could be:
combined with a Housing Benefit payment or paid directly to your landlord.

If there's a change in your circumstances

You must notify us about anything that might affect your entitlement to a Discretionary Housing Payment. You must do this within one month of this change taking place. Failure to notify us may lead to overpayments. Intentional failure to notify us may be considered as Benefit Fraud.

Changes in circumstances include, but are not limited to changes:

  • change to address
  • household income including benefits, wages, pensions, or income from lodgers. This includes partners and children’s income
  • the number of individuals living in the home
  • the circumstances of the individuals living in the home including starting or leaving education or study and any changes in employment


We will seek to recover any Discretionary Housing Payments found to be overpaid. An invoice will be sent to you, or the person the award was paid to. The decision letter notifying there is an overpayment will set out the right of review.

If you disagree with our decision

You do not have the right of appeal if we turn down your application for a Discretionary Housing Payment. However, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again, this is called a review. You need to request your review within one month of the date of the decision letter. 

If you have a query, contact the Benefit Team