Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments help people who need extra help with their rent when their Housing Benefit or the housing cost element of Universal Credit does not meet the full value of their rent. If you are suffering severe financial hardship as a result, or your tenancy is at risk you may be able to get a discretionary payment to help towards these payments.

The Government has set limits on how much Discretionary Housing Payment can be paid out in any financial year. These payments are made from a separate fund with a limited budget and are awarded as a short-term measure to help claimants experiencing difficult circumstances.

When we can make a payment

We can only make a Discretionary Housing Payment if we believe that the person's circumstances call for further financial help. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The finances and personal circumstances of the applicant are carefully considered and taken into account.

Examples of circumstances when a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded include:

  • If anybody in the household has particular needs associated with disability or ill health.
  • If the accommodation has been adapted because of disability.
  • If anybody in the household has a caring responsibility and consequential accommodation needs.
  • If anybody in the household has a relevant medical need.
  • If there is a young child in the household attending school.
  • If more than one additional bedroom is required for a foster child or children.
  • If it is not possible or practical for the claimant to look for alternative accommodation.

The above list only provides examples and does not cover all the circumstances in which a Discretionary Housing Payment is awarded.

When we can't make a payment

This extra payment is not available for the following purposes:

  • Council Tax.
  • If you are receiving Universal Credit but don’t get the housing costs element.
  • For water, meals, fuel or other ineligible service charges included in your rent.
  • To cover any shortfall in Housing Benefit that occurs due to an overpayment being recovered.
  • To pay a rent that is clearly excessive.
  • Increase in rent due to outstanding rent arrears.
  • Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit e.g. to a sanction applied by the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to seeking employment or a counter fraud punishment.

If you're struggling to pay your Council Tax you can apply for help through our Council Tax Support Scheme. You may also be entitled for help under this scheme if you receive Universal Credit.

How are payments made?

Any Discretionary Housing Payment awarded for eligible rental charges will be paid along with your award of Housing Benefit either to you or direct to your landlord.

How to apply for a payment

You can apply online for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Before starting your application, please read 'Information you need to provide' below.

You will be prompted to upload the relevant files during the application process. The file size for uploads should not exceed 9MB in total.

You can upload images/scanned documents from your computer, tablet or mobile device or, if you prefer, take them to a One Stop Shop to complete your application.

Apply online

Information you need to provide

We look at each case individually and will look at the following things when we make a decision:

  • Your income and savings.
  • If anyone else in your house can help you.
  • If you have any loans or debts.
  • How you use your income.
  • If you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled and additional costs you may have because of this.
  • If you receive overnight care please provide your carer’s name and address.

Please give as much detail as possible including any reason why you feel you could not move to any other area of Liverpool or why you need to stay in your current home. You must provide proof of any income, outgoings, debts and capital. This can be banks statements/receipts/utility bills/award letters.

Income - examples of types of income include state benefits, disability benefits, carers allowance, works pension, child benefit, tax credits, net earnings including overtime, bonus and commission, child maintenance, money from friends or family, and any other income you receive.

Outgoings - examples of types of outgoings include food, toiletries/cleaning products, gas, electricity, water rates, telephone, mobile phone, clothing, school meals, childcare costs, child maintenance, travel costs/bus fares to work/school, car expenses including insurance/road tax/petrol, TV Licence, TV rental, satellite TV, internet/broadband, court fines, insurance, and care costs. Please note that this is not a complete list.)

Debts - examples of debts include gas, electricity, water rates, loans, Social Fund repayments, credit union payments, credit/store cards, catalogue payments, hire purchase agreements, and court orders.

Capital - examples of capital include the money you have in the bank, building society or Post Office, and details of any ISAs, PEPs, stocks and shares.

Please note: we cannot give you more than your total rent.

After your application

If we decide that we can make a payment, we will write to tell you how much you will be paid and for how long.

If we decide that we can't make a payment, we will write and tell you the reasons for our decision. If you do not agree with our decision you can write to us and ask us to look at the decision again.

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