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Discretionary housing payment


Discretionary housing payments help people who need extra help with their rent when housing benefit/local housing allowance/universal credit doesn’t cover the full amount.


Download the claim form to apply attached document Discretionary Housing Payment Request

This page tells you
  • What is a discretionary housing payment?
  • When can we pay a discretionary housing payment?
  • What a discretionary housing payment can and can’t pay
  • How is a discretionary housing payment paid?
  • How to apply for a discretionary housing payment
  • How we make a decision to award a discretionary housing payment
  • What to do if you disagree with our decision




What is a discretionary housing payment?

Discretionary housing payments help people who need extra help with their rent when housing benefit/local housing allowance/universal credit doesn’t cover the full amount. If you are suffering severe financial hardship or your tenancy is at risk, you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment to help.

The Government has set restrictions on how much money can be paid out in any financial to fund discretionary housing payments. The payments are made from a limited fund and are made as a short term measure for those experiencing difficult circumstances.


When can we pay a discretionary housing payment?

We can only pay a discretionary housing payment if you are in receipt of housing benefit/local housing allowance/universal credit (including the housing element) and can demonstrate financial need.


What a discretionary housing payment can and can’t pay

In some circumstances, we may be able to pay a discretionary housing payment to cover a rent deposit, rent in advance or removal expenses. To be eligible for this, you must

  • Be in receipt of housing benefit/local housing allowance/universal credit (including the housing element) at your current home
  • Reside in Birmingham and be claiming from Birmingham City Council
  • Have a valid reason to move

In addition, the property must be affordable and any deposit amount must be reasonable.

A discretionary housing payment may be paid if

  • Someone in the household has needs associated with disability or ill health
  • The accommodation has been adapted because of disability
  • Someone in the household had a relevant medical need
  • It is not possible or practical for someone to look for alternative accommodation

This is not an exhaustive list and does not cover all the circumstances in which a discretionary housing payment may be paid.


A discretionary housing payment is not payable

  • For water, meals, fuel or other ineligible charges included in your rent
  • To cover a shortfall in housing benefit due to an overpayment being recovered
  • To pay a rent that is clearly excessive
  • To pay an increase in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • To cover a shortfall caused by certain sanctions and reductions in benefit

How to apply for a discretionary housing payment

Download the application form above, fill it in and return to the address given on the form.

You will need to give us as much detail as possible about your situation in order for us to make a decision regarding your request.

How do we make a decision?

Before we consider awarding a discretionary housing payment, we will check that you have claimed all other benefits you are entitled to and that they are being paid correctly. We will also look at the information provided on your application form and your personal circumstances. When we have made a decision, we will write and let you know.

What to do if you disagree with our decision

As these payments are discretionary, there is no formal right of appeal; however, if you disagree with our decision not to award a discretionary housing payment, you may request a reconsideration within one month of the date of the notification letter. A decision can also be looked at again if you give us any new information, if your circumstances change or whenever we consider it to be appropriate.