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Discretionary Housing Payments

If your Housing Benefit or the housing element of your Universal Credit doesn't cover the full amount of your rent, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Discretionary payments are awards, not a type of benefit. They're usually only made for a short time so you have the opportunity to adjust your circumstances so you can afford the rent shortfall yourself, or to allow you time to find cheaper suitable accommodation. Discretionary Housing payments are not a long-term solution.

They can also be made to ease financial hardship if your circumstances have changed, you've had a reduction in income or your tenancy is at risk.


You should complete the online form if you'd like to claim a discretionary payment.

You can only apply for a discretionary payment if you're currently receiving Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. We will usually pay the discretionary payment with any Housing Benefit payment.


Your eligibility for a discretionary payment depends on:

  • Your total income
  • Your expenses
  • Whether anyone else in your house is able to help you with money
  • Whether you have any loans or debts
  • Whether you could manage your money better to help the situation
  • Whether you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • Whether you have any disability adaptations
  • The size of your property
  • Whether you're a foster carer
  • If you've tried to put the situation right yourself

You can ask us to look at our decision if you don't agree with the amount we've given you. You should write to us within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter, explaining why you disagree.

Report a change in circumstance

If your circumstances change, you must write to us straight away. We'll then look at your discretionary payment again to see if we need to change the amount. If the change means we have to reduce your discretionary payment, you might have to pay back some or all of the discretionary payments we've already paid you.

Find out more about Universal Credit.

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