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Discretionary Housing Payments

If you claim Housing Benefit or receive housing cost payments through Universal Credit and need financial help because your benefit is less than the full amount of your rent, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can help cover this.

DHP is not for covering the cost of things included in your rent (e.g. fuel, water, food). Read our DHP policy (PDF, 86kb).

Am I entitled to DHP?

If you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you can claim a DHP to help pay your rent. We must be satisfied that you need help with your housing costs. The decision will be based on:

  • income
  • savings (PDF, 19kb) you and your partner have
  • whether you have anyone living with you who can contribute to housing costs
  • loans or debt you have to pay
  • special circumstances you or your family members may have e.g. disability
  • whether you can rearrange your finances or accommodation arrangements in order to pay your rent more easily

How to apply

For a Discretionary Housing Payment related to you having an extra bedroom (Bedroom Tax/Social Sector Size Criteria in a Local Authority or Housing Association property) or your Universal Credit housing costs or Housing Benefit being restricted due to a benefit cap, please:

complete our DHP short form

Please note: due to Scottish Government policy we do not need to assess your income for this type of award.

For a Discretionary Housing Payment related to financial hardship as well as either under occupancy or benefit cap we will need to assess your income, please:

complete our DHP full form

How much can I get and for how long?

This depends on circumstances. Each case is looked at individually.

Please note: there is no guarantee that you'll get a payment once you apply.

DHP payments

If your application is successful you will receive payment as follows:

  • if you receive Housing Benefit, payment is made with your Housing Benefit payment.
  • if you receive Universal Credit, payment is made direct to your bank account or to your landlord, if you are a Council or Registered Social Landlord tenant.

What happens if I disagree with the amount or period of the DHP?

If you disagree with our decision, you should complete the appeal a decision form no later than 20 days after the date on the decision notification you received from us.

Appeal a decision

We will look at your application again and contact you with the outcome.

What if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change you must tell us, in writing, within 1 month.

We will look at the DHP we awarded and see if it needs to be changed, this could be more, or less, and you may have to pay some, or all, back.

Where can I get help?

For help and advice, contact us, or:

Contact Benefits


Email the Benefits Team


01294 310000


In writing:

North Ayrshire Council, Benefits Section, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

In person:

  • Customer Service Centre, Bridgegate House, Irvine, KA12 8BD
  • The Town Hall, Countess Street, Saltcoats, KA21 5HW

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