Discretionary Housing Payments
Each year the Government allocates Local Authorities a sum of money for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). We will consider making a DHP award where a household faces exceptional hardship, where financial difficulties are causing you exceptional hardship or maybe putting your home at risk. It is a limited fund and unfortunately we cannot help everyone. If we make an award it may be for a lump sum or each week for a period of time, to supplement your other income and benefits. We always expect you to have taken all reasonable steps to claim any income and benefits you are entitled to and to be taking reasonable steps to reduce your expenditure.
To be considered for an award you must be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element. We typically consider awarding a DHP if the amount of Housing Benefit or the amount of Universal Credit Housing Element that you receive does not cover the cost of your rent and you do not have the resources to cover this shortfall. We will investigate why there is a shortfall, your ability to cover it, and how this may affect you. We will take all your income and outgoings into account, along with your personal circumstances as well as longer-term prospects.
DHPs are usually made only for short periods of time.
You are strongly advised to seek help to find a long-term solution to meeting the gap. There is no guarantee that we will be able to help you now, or in the future. There are certain circumstances where we cannot make a discretionary payment, which is explained on the GOV.UK website.
COVID-19 Hardship Fund 2020-21
As part of its response to coronavirus (COVID-19) the Government has provided councils in England with a new grant to support vulnerable households in their local areas. South Derbyshire District Council has received £606 011.
Working Age, Council Tax Support Recipients
South Derbyshire District Council will use the majority of the grant to help provide financial assistance to some working age charge payers. The grant is for the 2020-21 year only and will be for up to £300 per property.
Charge payers who are
- classed as working age,
- in receipt of our Local Council Tax Support Reduction in 2020-21, and
- have a liability to pay an amount of Council Tax after all other discounts and disregards in 2020-21 will receive a one-off grant.
If you meet the qualifying criteria, the grant will be calculated alongside your claim for Council Tax Support Reduction. You will not need to make a separate application and the amount will show on your Council Tax bill as CTS Discretionary Payment.
If your Council Tax liability changes within 2020-21, the amount of your Hardship Grant may also be affected. This may mean that your Hardship Fund grant reduces. If your entitlement to Council Tax Support Reduction is removed for 2020-21, the Hardship Fund grant will also be removed.
Council Tax charges because of COVID-19 measures
If measures taken in the fight against coronavirus mean you have received Council Tax charges that you would not have otherwise had, and these charges are causing you financial hardship, we will consider a one off payment to help towards these costs.
An example of this might be related to the lockdown orders that slowed down or prevented home moves. If you occurred additional Council Tax costs, such as charges against two properties at the same time because you were unable to move, and these charges are causing hardship, we would encourage you to apply to Hardship Fund for help with these costs. We will need to know the Coronavirus measures affected you and how this has caused you hardship.
You can read our policy here: Council Tax Hardship Fund (pdf, 100kb)