Discretionary Payments

Discretionary Payments are short term or one off payments that are given to anyone experiencing exceptional financial hardship. You must be receiving either Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction in order to be considered for it.

Can I Make a Claim for a Discretionary Payment?

There are two discretionary payment funds available:

  • Discretionary Housing Payments - for those receiving Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit
  • Discretionary Exceptional Hardship Payments - for those receiving Council Tax Reduction

If you want to make a claim you must:

  • be receiving either Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction or the Housing Element of Universal Credit
  • not be getting the full amount of benefit that is available
  • explain in writing why you need extra help
  • be able to provide evidence to support your application

All applications are assessed on a case by case basis.

What Can Discretionary Payments Help With?

A discretionary payment may be given to help you with:

  • your eligible rent if you are not receiving the full amount available (for example, if your income is too high or you have non dependants)   
  • your short term finances if you are moving to more affordable accommodation   
  • the cost of your Council Tax if you are facing genuine difficulties

When a Discretionary Payment Will Not Be Given

Discretionary payments will not be available to:

  • cover living costs such as water, fuel or food
  • cover any charges that result from a summons or other recovery action
  • cover the amount of Housing benefit being recovered for an overpayment
  • cover the amount of any benefit not paid due to sanction

How Are Payments Made?

Discretionary Housing Payments are paid with your Housing Benefit.

How Do I Apply for a Discretionary Payment?

You can apply online for a discretionary payment. We will write to let you know whether your application has been successful. If we decide not to award you any payments we will always let you know why.

If you are making a move into work or to more affordable housing and need some help, or you have been affected by the changes to the Benefit Cap from 7th November then you can apply for a one off Discretionary Housing Payment.

Can I Appeal a Decision?

There are no formal rights of appeal for discretionary payments but we will always consider any requests for us to review a decision. Any requests must be made in writing within one month of the original decision being made. Any new evidence to support your claim will also need to be submitted. Any decision made after a review cannot be appealed against.