If you are entitled to some help towards your rent, you may be able to apply for an additional award known as a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). You can also do this if you receive a housing element within your claim for Universal Credit. DHPs are paid on top of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to people who find that the shortfall between their benefit and their housing costs causes them exceptional hardship.
DHPs can only be paid up to the maximum amount of eligible rent that is due, and cannot be paid for some service charges included in the rent, for example water charges. They are also only intended to be a temporary top up, so will not be paid indefinitely. It is expected, during any period of Discretionary Housing Payments award, that you take measures to make paying your rent more affordable. Those measures would include; trying to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord, finding alternative accommodation that you can afford, increasing your income (either taking on employment or increasing the hours you already work), claiming other Benefits which you have not already claimed but to which you may be entitled or reducing your current expenditure (cancelling ongoing contracts e.g. TV Subscriptions, mobile telephone contracts or clearing outstanding debts).
The amount of money we are allowed for DHPs is limited, and therefore awards are made at our discretion and each application will be considered on it's own merits. You must make any application for a Discretionary Housing Payment in writing, giving us the reasons why you cannot afford the shortfall between your benefit and your housing costs. We will notify you of our decision in writing. If we turn you down you can ask us to consider your application again, but there is no formal right of appeal. Please read our Discretionary Housing Payments Policy for more information.