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Discretionary Housing Payments

If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not cover the full amount of your rent, you can apply for extra financial help. 

You can also apply if you were getting help towards your housing costs through Universal Credit and you've moved partway through your assessment period into:

  • temporary accommodation provided by the council because you are homeless
  • supported accommodation where you receive care, support and supervision provided by or on behalf of your landlord
  • a refuge
  • a council hostel
  • a new address and continue to have a rent liability on your old address

If you receive Universal Credit you must provide proof of your rent. For example, a tenancy agreement or a signed letter from your landlord.

Awards are discretionary, based on the circumstances of each case and for a limited time.

The award of a Discretionary Housing Payment depends on a person's individual circumstances and we can review it at any time.

For us to consider a Discretionary Housing Payment, we may need further information from you. Some people may find the information requested intrusive but we will only ask for information that is necessary to make a decision. We will write to you to let you know the outcome of your claim.

Discretionary Housing Payments are separate to the Housing Benefit Scheme and there are no formal appeal rights.

Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be made towards water, fuel or other service charges included in your rent, or rent arrears.

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to help towards your rent.

To apply, you must be receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (this must include the Housing Element).

When considering your application, we will take into account factors such as:

  • responsibility for a child or children (including foster children), taking into account their ages and how this could impact on your ability to work or find childcare
  • whether a property has disabled adaptations and how easy it would be to find alternative accommodation with similar adaptations
  • health issues that might impact on your property requirements, and why these may make moving to a more suitable property difficult
  • if you have recently moved, details of the reason for the move, and a comparison of your situation and rent liability at your previous address
  • how you are affected by government welfare reforms such as under-occupancy, the benefit cap and restrictions on support towards your rent
  • what you have done to improve your situation - if you have done nothing, we will work with you to try and take action or signpost you to support
  • your income and expenses - we will work with you if we identify that you need help with prioritising your income or with budgeting

We expect you to:

  • provide as much information as possible to support your application, including details about your income, expenses, health, family situation, work situation
  • work with any organisation we signpost you to
  • attend any budgeting or debt advice sessions we arrange for you
  • look to reducing expenses, such as broadband, mobile phone(s), non-necessary expenditure
  • ensure you continue to meet any work-search commitments you have as part of any other benefit claim

If you disagree with our decision you can ask for it to be looked at again. You must provide additional evidence to support your request.

Apply now

How payments are made

If you receive Housing Benefit, any Discretionary Housing Payment will be paid with Housing Benefit. If you are receiving Universal Credit, it will be paid directly to you.

Changes in circumstance and overpaid Discretionary Housing Payments

If your circumstances change, you must tell us immediately as it may affect the amount of Discretionary Housing Payment that has been allowed. If you are late in telling us about your change in circumstance, resulting in an overpaid Discretionary Housing Payment, we may recover the amount by issuing you with an invoice. If you do not make arrangements with us to pay this we may refer the debt to a debt collection agency.

Other support available

Visit our benefits support and advice page for more information.

If you are a private sector tenant, for information about issues in connection with your home, please visit the private tenant support page.

If you are a council tenant, for information about issues in connection with your home please visit Housing advice and support.

External links

Age UK Gateshead (opens new window) (opens new window) benefits calculator  (opens new window)

Department for Work and Pensions (opens new window)

Citizens Advice - Gateshead Advice Centre (opens new window)

National Debtline (opens new window)

PDSA (opens new window)

Shelter North East (opens new window)

Contact us

Benefit Team 
Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 4848 (office hours)