Discretionary housing payments in Scotland | CPAG

Discretionary housing payments in Scotland

Date: 
18 February 2019

Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) transferred to Scotland in April 2017. If your universal credit or housing benefit doesn't cover all of your rent or other housing costs and you need assistance to meet the shortfall, you may be able to get a DHP from your local authority.

Timeline

April 2017     Discretionary housing payments transferred to Scotland

Eligibility

You can get a DHP from your local authority if you're entitled to housing benefit or you're entitled to universal credit which includes an amount for rent costs.

There were no changes to the eligibility rules for DHPs when they transferred to Scotland.

What you get

DHPs might include help with your rent - for example because

  • your benefit is reduced because of the bedroom tax or the benefit cap
  • the local housing allowance doesn't cover your rent
  • your benefit doesn't cover your rent because of non-dependant deductions
  • you need help with a rent deposit or rent in advance
  • you need help with removal expenses

The Scottish Government has provided funding through DHPs to compensate people for the effects of the bedroom tax. This means that if you're affected by the bedroom tax and you apply to your local authority for a DHP you should get one.

However, the scheme is discretionary so the local authority can decide whether to pay you, how much to pay and for how long. There is guidance that local authorities are expected to use. 

How you apply

You apply to your local authority, whether you are getting housing benefit or universal credit.

How you're paid

Your local authority decides how to pay you. For example, it could be paid alongside your housing benefit, direct to your landlord or into your bank account.

More information

The law is in the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001.

Decision makers in local authorities also use the Discretionary Housing Payments Guidance Manual to help them make decisions on DHP applications.