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Home Advice and information News Discretionary housing payments
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Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payments can be paid in certain circumstances to help people who receive some housing benefit, but not enough to cover their full rent. This includes where housing benefit has been reduced due to the benefit cap, or the over occupancy charge if you're deemed to have a spare bedroom (this is sometimes known as the 'bedroom tax' or 'removal of the spare room subsidy'). The council will take into account any special circumstances you have such as expenses arising from illness, or if you are likely to be made homeless if a payment is not made.

You can contact your local council for a discretionary housing payment form. You will be asked for details of your income and outgoings and you may need to send copies of bills and bank statements. Remember to include information about any particularly difficult circumstances you have.

The council will decide if you are eligible for a payment. The payment is at the discretion of the council and they do not have to make a payment. They can decide to make up the whole shortfall between housing benefit and the full rent, or just part of it. They may agree to pay it just for a short period of time.

If the council refuses to give you a discretionary housing payment there is no right of appeal but you can ask the council to look at the decision again. 

To make an application for discretionary housing payments, contact your local council.

For more information about housing, see our factsheet housing options for single parents






Page updated 21/01/2016