Universal Credit and Housing Benefit
Discretionary housing payments
A discretionary housing payment is an additional payment to help you with your rent. It is only available for people in extreme hardship who are claiming Housing Benefit or are entitled to the housing costs element from Universal Credit.
The payment can only be used to pay rent, not to cover costs for service charges or utility bills.
You can’t claim a discretionary housing payment if:
- you don’t qualify for Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of universal credit
- you are not currently in receipt of the housing costs element of Universal Credit
- your Housing Benefit or other housing costs have been suspended
- you’re already receiving full Housing Benefit or full housing costs from Universal Credit
- you’re short on rent because of extra charges for arrears or court costs
- you’re short on rent because of extra charges for services that aren’t eligible for Housing Benefit or the housing costs from Universal Credit, such as fuel charges or meals
- you’re short on rent because your benefits have been reduced due to sanctions.
We won’t normally award a discretionary housing payment if we think that the rent for your property is too high or when your property is too large for your needs and other suitable accommodation is available.
Applying for a discretionary housing payment
To apply for a discretionary housing payment, you’ll need to complete our form and send it to us along with evidence of your income.
The person that made the claim for Housing Benefit or the housing costs from Universal Credit should complete this application. We will also accept applications from someone who has been appointed to act on your behalf.upload evidence to support your application
Evidence to support your claim for discretionary housing payment
You should send us any evidence that could support your claim including information about your circumstances, such as a letter from your doctor confirming a medical condition.
Proof of rent
You can use the following as proof of rent:
- tenancy agreement
- letter from your landlord or agent
- rent book
Your proof of rent must show:
- the full name and business or home address of the owner of the property
- the full name and business address of any agent
- the date the agreement started
- the amount of current rent payable
- what is included in the rent – heating, lighting, meals, counselling
- the payment frequency – weekly, monthly, four-weekly
Proof of income and capital
Proof of income and capital includes earned income, benefit payments and any money in your bank accounts. If you earn a wage, you’ll need to provide your last five weekly, three fortnightly or two monthly payslips. If you can’t provide these payslips, you can send us a letter from your employer that includes:
- the name and address of your employer
- your gross income for the current period and year to date
- income tax for the current period and year to date
- any national insurance deducted
Proof of household
Proof that children live in your home could include:
- child benefit book
- child benefit award letter
If other adults live in your home, we will need to see their gross income and capital. Proof could include:
- the last five weekly, last three fortnightly or last two monthly payslips
- a letter from their employer showing their income – must be signed and stamped by the employer
- proof of capital such as current bank or building society accounts