Extra help you might be able to get for housing costs, including rent payments and moving costs

What Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are

We may make a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't provide enough money to pay your rent.

Who can get a DHP

You can only get a DHP if you receive Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.

What DHPs can help with

You may be able to get a DHP for:

  • a spare room that housing benefit won't pay for
  • benefit caps resulting in reductions to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • your benefit being reduced because there's a non-dependent in the household
  • a rent deposit or rent in advance (but in the vast majority of cases not for moves in to housing association properties)
  • removal costs
  • a shortfall between the amount of housing benefit or housing costs in universal credit you get and the amount of rent you have to pay

If you're moving between council, or housing association, social housing properties

We may be able to help you with removal costs but not rent in advance.

We need written quotes from two removal companies, which you can upload either when you apply or after you've submitted your application.

We're restricted to certain dates for making payments, so it's important you give us at least two week's notice if you need payment before your move date.

You must complete a change of address at the same time as making a DHP application.

If you're moving into a privately rented property

You should only apply for help with rent in advance or a rent deposit when you've found a property and the landlord has agreed you can rent it. You shouldn't commit to a tenancy until we've agreed your DHP.

If you have savings over £1000 we may ask you to contribute towards your own removal costs.

We'll need to make sure that the property you're moving into meets our letting standards. At the moment, we'll do this without visiting and will contact you if we need any more information. We'll let you know if the property you are moving into meets our standards.

You must then complete a change of address form.

What DHPs can't cover

We're not able to give DHPs for:

  • service charges not covered by housing benefit or universal credit 
  • increases in rent because you're in arrears
  • rent costs when your benefit has been reduced by the Department for Work and Pensions, normally because of a sanction
  • when your rent is reduced due to recovering a Housing Benefit overpayment
  • council tax
  • if you get Universal Credit, but not the housing costs element
  • usually rent in advance for moves to housing association properties

Apply for a DHP

If you get Universal Credit we'll need evidence of your:

  • Universal Credit award, such as screenshots of your award summary from your online journal on the GOV.UK website.
  • rent commitment, unless you're a Local Authority Tenant, such as tenancy agreement or letter from your landlord

If you have problems filling in this form try using a different browser, like Chrome.

pdf Fill in the DHP application form (348 KB)

You'll need to fill information about the money you have coming in and the money you spend.

You can email the form and any scanned evidence to benefits.evidence@bristol.gov.uk.

If you cannot provide your form and any evidence needed by email, you can return the completed form and any supporting evidence to:

Benefits Service (CH) 
PO Box 3399 
BS1 9NE  

If you're applying for DHPs to help with the cost of moving

We'll need evidence of your Universal Credit award, such as screenshots of your award summary from your online journal on the GOV.UK website.

Apply for DHPs for moving costs 

How we make a decision

We consider the following when we make a decision:

  • your household income
  • if you have any savings
  • if you or your family are ill or disabled
  • if anyone else is living in the property who could help
  • if there's any way of you rearranging your finances to improve your situation
  • if you have any debts
  • if the household could budget to afford some or all of the shortfall
  • any other relevant information

How we'll tell you about our decision

We'll write to you with our decision and the reason for it.

If we approve your application we'll release funds into your bank account.

If you disagree with our decision

Email benefits.enquiry@bristol.gov.uk within one month of the date on the decision letter, explaining why you don't agree with the decision. We'll then look at the decision again.

You can't appeal to the tribunal service because DHPs are not covered by the same law as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.