Discretionary housing payments
Discretionary housing payments allow us to make additional payments to people who receive housing benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit who appear to need further help.
What are discretionary housing payments?
Boston Borough Council has a scheme called Discretionary Housing Payments. This scheme allows us to make additional payments to people who receive Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit who appear to need further help with their rent.
These are not intended to be long term ongoing payments; they are normally awarded on a short term or one off basis to assist you while you take action to improve your financial circumstances.
How do I get Discretionary Housing Payments?
If you think you are eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment please click on the link at the bottom of this page called DHP form or alternatively contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your name, address and postcode and a form will be posted out to you.
When you complete the form we will need to know why you think you should get an additional payment to help you pay your rent, what your circumstances are, any action you have taken to help yourself and anything else you think may help us make a decision.
You should supply as much detail as possible so that we fully understand your situation.
You will also need to tell us about all the money you have coming into your household (income) and all the money you pay out each week/month (expenditure).
When you have completed and returned your 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.
How will the benefits section make a decision about Discretionary Housing Payments?
We will consider all requests for Discretionary Housing Payments while trying to ensure that payments are made to those most in need.
There is no list of circumstances that will automatically qualify you for an award of Discretionary Housing Payments. Each request will be considered on its own merits, but you will need to demonstrate that you do not have the means to pay the shortfall in your rent yourself and that you have not intentionally taken on a tenancy that you knew you could not afford.
Wherever it is possible and reasonable to do so, you will be expected to take steps to improve the circumstances that have led to the need for a discretionary payment, for example - finding more affordable accommodation.
Can I claim Discretionary Housing Payments to cover all my housing costs?
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be awarded for any of the following:
- Ineligible service or support charges
- Any rent you have to pay if you only qualify for council tax support
- Increases in your rent to cover rent arrears
- Reductions in any benefit as a result of Child Support
- Amounts of housing benefit that have been suspended
How much money can I get?
Discretionary Housing Payments will be paid at the discretion of Boston Borough Council, but they will not be greater than your weekly rent. For example, if your eligible 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.
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.
What if you turn my request down?
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 us to look a the decision again. You will need to write to us within one month of the date that we inform you that your claim has been refused.
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