Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

These are payments we can make if your Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not cover the full amount of rent or council tax you are charged. It is an additional payment to Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and Council Tax Support and can be awarded at the discretion of the authority. These payments are only available to people entitled to Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and/or Council Tax Support who require further assistance.

What are eligible housing costs?

When people are charged rent it sometimes states in their tenancy agreement that the rent includes a charge for other services, such as meals, electricity, and charges for water. Eligible housing costs are therefore the amount of charged rent minus any ineligible service charges.

Ineligible service charges are not paid by Housing Benefit. Therefore, you may have a shortfall in the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit that Ribble Valley Borough Council pays and the amount of rent you must pay your landlord. Unfortunately, Discretionary Housing Payments are not available to make up this shortfall.

Would I be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment?

  • Are you entitled to either Housing Benefit, Universal Credit (and receive the Housing Element) or Council Tax Support?
  • Is Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and/or Council Tax Support leaving you a shortfall in the actual amount of rent and council tax you need to pay?
  • Is the shortfall, eligible rent costs?

If you can answer yes to the above questions and we are satisfied that you require further financial assistance you may be awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment or a payment from the Council Tax Support discretionary fund.

Please note that if you are only entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit then we are unable to help financially with your council tax bill. Also, if you only qualify for Council Tax Support then we are unable to give financial assistance with your rent costs.

How to claim

If you wish to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment you must complete our Discretionary Housing Payment application form. Please contact benefits@ribblevalley.gov.uk or 01200 425111 or visit the council offices.

If you wish to claim a Council Tax Support Discretionary Payment you must write to the Revenues and Benefits section and explain your circumstances. These payments are only a short-term measure to help claimants affected by the Council Tax Support scheme, who are experiencing extreme financial difficulty.

Important: Whilst your claim is being processed you must continue to pay your council tax bill by the due dates.

The length of time the authority will pay an award is at our discretion.

Your rights and duties

If you are unhappy with a decision that we have made in relation to your claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment and/or Council Tax Support Discretionary Payment you can ask for a reconsideration of the decision. You must do this in writing within one calendar month of notification.

You must also inform us within one calendar month of any change in your circumstances. If we are not notified within the time limit an overpayment may occur and you will have to pay this money back.

If you have any further questions regarding Discretionary Housing Payments and Council Tax Support contact benefits@ribblevalley.gov.uk  01200 425111.