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Discretionary Housing Payments

A Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded when other housing benefits do not provide enough money to pay the rent. Discretionary Housing Payments are not part of the normal Housing Benefit or Universal Credit schemes but are payments that may be made where extra financial support is needed.

How can residents claim?

Only residents who qualify for housing benefits including Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be eligible to apply for Discretionary Housing Payment.

You can claim for a Discretionary Housing Payment:

  • in person at our offices in Market Hall, Whitehaven and Millom
  • by printing a claim form here and sending it to us via email or posting it to our Market Hall, Whitehaven, office
  • by requesting a claim form by contacting us
  • by requesting a visit if you are unwell or unable to leave the house
  • by getting independent advice and help from various third sector agencies including Citizens Advice.

What information is needed to claim?

Residents must tell us why they think they need extra help to meet their housing costs, including information such as:

  • any disabilities or illnesses they or a member of their family may have
  • how their disability or illness may affect them financially (for example, extra costs) or prevents them moving
  • details of income and spending, including debts
  • any change in circumstances which makes it more difficult for them to meet the shortfall
  • what would happen if they lost their home

We may ask to see other reasonable evidence to support the claim.

How is it assessed?

We will look at each case individually based on a person's circumstances and will write to the claimant to let them know if you will be awarded Discretionary Housing Payment. The letter will include details of how much a claimant will be awarded and during what period it will be awarded.

How will it be paid?

The payment will be either

  • combined with a resident’s Housing Benefit payment
  • be paid separately into a resident’s account or directly to their landlord if they are in receipt of Universal Credit

What happens if a residents circumstances change?

Residents must notify us immediately if they have a change in circumstances. Failure to notify us may lead to overpayments or underpayments. Intentional failure to notify us may be considered as Benefit Fraud and may be punishable by fine or imprisonment. To find out more about Benefit Fraud click here.

Changes in circumstances include but are not limited to changes:

  • in address
  • in household income including other benefits, wages, pensions or income from lodgers. This includes partners and children’s income.
  • to the number of individuals living in the home  
  • in the circumstances of the individuals living in the home including starting or leaving education or study and any changes in employment

Residents can notify us of any changes in writing by contacting us.

What if a resident disagrees with our decision?

Residents can request that we review our decision once it has been made. There is no right to appeal for Discretionary Housing Payments.