Apply for DHP

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) allow the Council to provide additional assistance with rent in exceptional cases where Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not cover a claimant's rent in full and they have a financial shortfall.

To be eligible to apply for DHP you must already be receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with housing costs

There are no rules that give anyone a right to payment, but we will look at your circumstances to see whether you are eligible for a DHP. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and if successful, DHPs may be awarded as a one-off payment and/or a series of payments.

The Council will treat all applications on their individual merits, and aims to use Discretionary Housing Payments to:

  • alleviate poverty
  • encourage and sustain Bexley residents in employment
  • help those who are trying to help themselves
  • keep families together
  • support the vulnerable in the local community
  • help claimants through personal crises and difficult events

Due to the high level of demand and the limited funding the Council currently prioritises how we award the funding. We prioritise cases where households are at risk of eviction or homelessness, where the benefit cap or removal of the spare room subsidy are causing financial difficulty or where an applicant has exceptional circumstances.

If you apply for help with rent arrears or for a deposit to secure a property you will be signposted to the Housing Options Service for a full assessment of your circumstances so that we can look at a range of options (including DHP) to provide help if you are deemed to be a priority case.

Do not use this form to report a change of circumstance regarding housing benefit or to submit documents. Please go to Help with rent or Council Tax to report a change of circumstance for housing benefit.

Apply for DHP

If you need help or assistance to complete the form please email or call 020 3045 3700.

The Council may request any reasonable evidence in support of your claim and will consider any other available evidence held by Housing Services or Housing Benefit. The Council reserves the right to verify any information or evidence provided by the claimant in appropriate circumstances.

Our decision

In deciding whether to award a DHP, the following will be considered:

  • the shortfall between Housing Benefit/Universal Credit and the rent liability
  • any steps taken by the claimant to reduce their rental liability
  • the financial and medical circumstances of the claimant and any other occupants of the claimant's home
  • the income and expenditure of the claimant and any other occupants of the claimant's home
  • any savings or capital the claimant or their family may have
  • any outstanding debts the claimant and their family may have
  • the nature of the claimant and their family's circumstances
  • the amount available in the DHP budget at the time of the application
  • the possible impact on the Council of not making such an award, example, the pressure on priority homeless accommodation
  • any steps taken to reduce rental liability, obtain employment or increase the level of income
  • any other special circumstances that we are aware of

We will send you a letter with the outcome of your application by email wherever possible.

If the application is successful, you will be advised of the amount awarded, the start and end date and how, when and to whom the award will be paid.

If the application is unsuccessful, you will be advised of the reason for the decision and the right to appeal will be explained.

Wherever possible DHPs will be paid directly to the Landlord unless there are exceptional circumstances.


If you disagree with the outcome of your DHP application, you should write to or email the Council within a month of the decision letter to explain your reasons for disagreeing with the decision and request a review.

A senior officer will review all the evidence held and will make a decision whether to either uphold the original decision or overturn it and make or increase an award of DHP. You will be notified of the outcome in writing, with reasons for the decision. The decision made by the senior officer will be notified in writing and is final. If you are still not happy with the outcome, you can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman or apply for a Judicial review.

Change of circumstances

If we give you a DHP, you must tell us immediately if there are any changes in your circumstances.

Report a change of circumstances

This form is for reporting changes for discretionary housing payments only. If you need to report a change to the Benefits Office for Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction please use the online form Report a change in circumstances or ask a question.

Household Support Fund

The government has given local authorities some additional money to help local people who are struggling with the rising cost of living. The funding is intended to be used to support low-income households in need including, but not limited to, families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers and disabled people. It is particularly focused on those who may not be eligible for other forms of government support at this time.

The funds can be used to meet immediate needs and help those who are struggling with energy and water bills, food and other wider essentials. The support can be made through the provision of vouchers, payments into bank accounts, direct cash for food or the provision of goods to households.

It is a grant that you do not have to pay back.

Please note that this cannot be used to cover council tax, pay mortgages or personal debts.

As soon as applications for this funding are open, we will provide details of how to access it.