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Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) is an annual scheme, run by the Government and administered by the local authority.

The Government provide Sunderland City Council with a limited budget each financial year to be used for DHP awards. Once this budget is exhausted, the council are not able to ask for additional funds.

A DHP may be awarded in some instances where the claimant requires further, short-term financial assistance towards housing costs.

To qualify for a DHP you must be entitled to either Universal Credit with housing costs (UC) or Housing Benefit (HB).

A DHP may help towards a shortfall where your UC or HB does not cover your full eligible rent, but it may also be awarded to help with other housing costs.  Please see our DHP frequently asked questions for further details.

The aim of the scheme is to provide financial support, allowing the applicant time to improve their financial circumstances or the opportunity to secure cheaper alternative accommodation.

As the DHP scheme has a limited budget, each application is considered on its own individual merits.

If you are struggling to make your money last, or worried about how you will pay your bills, there are a range of free services available providing advice on debt and money management, housing options, affordable credit and secure savings options. Further details can be found at Managing your money.

You may also benefit from a financial resilience check to ensure you are receiving the full range of benefits you are entitled to. For details of these services can be found at Managing your money.

When reviewing your DHP application we will look at your income and expenditure to decide if you qualify for extra financial support.

Answers to some commonly asked questions, including information on eligibility and details of what a DHP can and can't cover, can be found in our DHP frequently asked questions.

Full details of our DHP scheme can be found in our DHP policy.

How to apply

  • First, check your eligibility for a DHP by reading 'Would I qualify for a DHP to cover a shortfall in my rent?' in our DHP frequently asked questions
  • If you feel you may be eligible for a DHP you can complete a DHP application form. You are unable to complete an application online, so please download and print a copy of the form so you can complete it
  • The completed form should be sent to Neighbourhoods Directorate, P.O. Box 103, Sunderland West LDO, SR2 8YH
  • Alternatively, you can complete an application over the telephone by contacting our Home and Money Team

Before you start your application, have the following information to hand:

  • All National Insurance numbers
  • Details and amounts of all income including earnings and benefits
  • Details of all expenditure (this is your outgoings such as gas and electricity bills)
  • Details of all savings and capital
  • Your household details
  • Your rent and tenancy details

Where applicable, all fields in the application form should be completed providing as much detail as possible. We may ask you to provide evidence of some of this information in support of your application, for example statements verifying savings and capital.

Your application may be delayed or refused if you do not provide information requested.

Find out how we use your information within the discretionary housing payment process.

If you require support or further information please contact our Home and Money Team.

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