If you receive Housing Benefit or housing costs within universal credit and need further help, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
What you'll get
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be greater than what you are responsible to pay for your weekly rent. For example, if your rent is £50 per week and your entitlement to Housing Benefit is £45 the maximum Discretionary Housing Payment you can get is £5 per week.
They are not long-term payments. They are awarded on a short term basis while you take action to improve your circumstances.
If a payment is awarded, it will last for a given period of time (usually 3 to 6 months). Once this period ends you can apply for another Discretionary Housing Payment and this will be considered.
You will need to tell us:
- why you think you should get extra payment towards your rent
- what your circumstances are
- any action you have taken to help yourself
- the money you have coming in to your household (income) and the money you pay out each week/month (expenditure).
You'll also need to send supporting evidence separately to: Medway Revenues and Benefits Service, Business Support Department, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR. Remember to include your name, address, and housing benefit reference number on any paperwork you send us.
You may also book an appointment and take the form and supporting evidence in person to Kingsley House between 8.30am and 5.15pm Monday to Thursday, and from 8.30am to 4.45pm on Fridays. To book an appointment call 01634 332 222.
How we make a decision
When you have completed and returned the claim form we will consider all aspects of your circumstances before we decide if we can award you a Discretionary Housing Payment.
We may wish to visit you at home or ask you to come into the office to discuss your application further.
Each request will be considered on its own merits, but you will need to demonstrate you do not have the means to pay the shortfall in your rent yourself and that you haven't intentionally taken on a tenancy you knew you could not afford.
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be awarded for any of the following:
- any rent you have to pay if you only qualify for Council Tax reduction
- increases in your rent to cover rent arrears
- reductions in any benefit as a result of Child Support
- employment sanctions or breach of community service orders
- shortfalls caused by Housing and/or Council Tax reduction overpayment recovery
- amounts of Housing or Council Tax reduction that have been suspended
If you are awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment and we later find out you should not have been entitled to it, we will ask you to return the money.
Request a review of our decision
If your application for a Discretionary Housing Payment is turned down and there is something you feel we have not considered or were not aware of, you can ask for us to look at our decision again.
You must write to us using the address above within one month of the date that your claim is turned down.