Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are for people receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, including a housing element, who require further financial assistance with housing costs because their benefit does not cover their full rent.

The scheme is not part of normal Housing Benefits or Universal Credit. As the name suggests it is awarded at the discretion of the local authority.

The money comes from a cash limited fund so an award of DHP is usually only paid for a limited period.


Anybody already in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit who requires extra financial assistance with housing costs can apply.

There are no set rules about what reasons make a person eligible to receive DHP. We will look carefully at each request and take into account any special circumstances that contribute to the need for the DHP.

You cannot receive DHP to meet a shortfall in your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit because of:

  • Ineligible service charge, for example water rates
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit.

How to apply for DHP

You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment by either completing the online form or by sending a written letter to the Discretionary Awards team.


You must answer all of the questions on the form that apply to you. It is important that you give us as much information and evidence as possible to support your claim. 

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

By post

Apply in writing and provide as much detail as possible so that we can fully consider your situation. Include any information about your circumstances that make things difficult for you. You should also include any supporting evidence.

Application should be made in writing to:

Discretionary Awards team
Wandsworth Benefit Service
PO Box 500
SW18 2PN

Our decision

We will consider all aspects of your circumstances before we decide if we can award you a Discretionary Housing Payment. We will then contact you by letter, informing you of our decision and detailing any payments of DHP that are to be made to you.

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit we will pay any DHP to you alongside this award, although a DHP is not an award of Benefit.

Appealing a decision

If you are unhappy with our decision you can ask us to look at it again. You should write to us telling us why you disagree and we will review your application. You cannot appeal to the Tribunals Service if you disagree with our decision because DHP is not an award of Benefit.

View our Discretionary Housing Payment Fund Policy.