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Discretionary housing payment


There have been a number of changes as part of the Government's Welfare Reform that may mean that the amount of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support that you receive has reduced.

Birmingham City Council can in some circumstances make a Discretionary Payment to assist families that are now suffering severe financial hardship as a result of these changes.

Discretionary Housing Payments

The Government has allocated a cash limited fund to allow Birmingham City Council to make awards in the form of Discretionary Housing Payments for families in receipt of Housing Benefit who have a shortfall between the amount of benefit they receive and the amount of rent they need to pay to their landlord.

These payments are made from a separate fund with a limited budget and are awarded as a short-term measure for those experiencing difficult circumstances.

Further details and an application form are provided below.

Council Tax Support Discretionary Hardship Payments

Birmingham City Council has set aside a cash limited budget to assist those households who have been affected by the abolition of Council Tax Benefit. Please visit the Council Tax Support page for further details and an application form.

Local Welfare Provision

From April 2013, Birmingham City Council will introduce the Local Welfare Provision scheme which will make discretionary payments to vulnerable people in crisis. These awards will be grants rather than loans so no-one will be expected to repay any amount.

As this is a discretionary fund, no applicant will have a statutory right to an award and the scheme does not, in any way, replace Birmingham City Council's statutory obligations.

For further details regarding the application process please visit Birmingham Local Welfare Provision

Essential Information
  • The Council uses its allocated DHP budget in order to:

    • Alleviate hardship and help prevent homelessness;
    • Support vulnerable people in the community;
    • Help people through family crisis or difficult life events.
  • You must be receiving Housing Benefit and appear to need some additional financial help to meet your housing costs.

  • The Council cannot help with some parts of your rent, for instance if meals, heating, lighting, hot water and water rates are included in the rent charge.

  • Before considering awarding a DHP it is important to check that all other benefits have been claimed and are being paid at the appropriate rate. This includes any possible entitlement under the 13 and 52 week protected rent rules.

    The DHP award must not exceed the weekly eligible rent. This will usually be paid for a short period of time although there will be some circumstances where the award will last for a longer period.

  • If you disagree with the decision about your DHP application you can ask us to look at your case again. There is no formal right of appeal against a decision not to award a Discretionary Housing Payment, however you may request a reconsideration of the decision and you should do so within one month of the date of the notification letter. The decision can also be looked at again in the light of any new information presented to us or whenever we consider it to be appropriate.

  • Please download the Discretionary Housing Payment Application Form which should be completed and returned to us. Your application will be reviewed and a decision will be made as to whether an award should be granted.(The form is located at the bottom of this page).

    If you’re having financial difficulties and want further help and advice please contact our Debt Advice team or the National Debtline.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • If you have secured the tenancy of a property that has rent that you will now be able to afford, but need help with the removal costs, you may qualify for financial assistance under the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme. You should make an application as soon as possible, giving details of your new tenancy, when you are due to move and an estimate of your removal costs.

      You can make an application by downloading the form on this page and returning it to the Benefit Service or you can make an appointment at one of our Customer Service Centres or Neighbourhood Offices by calling 0121 216 3030.

    • Please call us on telephone number 0121 464 7000 and we will look at your financial circumstances. You should have your income and expenditure details to hand prior to contacting us.

      We will then decide if we can reduce your recovery payments and write to tell you our decision.

      If you’re experiencing financial difficulties please make an appointment at your nearest Neighbourhood Office for advice on dealing with debts. If you make an appointment for a debt interview, please complete the online income and expenditure form beforehand.