Discretionary Housing Payments

Every year Tower Hamlets benefits service receives a limited amount of funding from central housing government for existing housing benefit claimants who do not receive full benefit and who can show that they have special circumstances.

These additional payments are discretionary and do not fall under the normal housing benefit rules.

How to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment

In order to be considered for a Discretionary Housing Payment you must:

  • already be getting housing benefit but the amount you get does not cover the full eligible rent (or getting the rent element of Universal Credit)
  • make a written application and satisfactorily explain why you need extra help
  • provide any information and evidence that we need to support your application

How much can be awarded?

The amount of the Discretionary Housing Payment cannot be more than the total amount of your eligible rent. If awarded it will be an amount that is somewhere between your existing benefit entitlement and your eligible rent.

Spending limits

The total amount we are allowed to spend on Discretionary Housing Payments in any one year is limited by the government.

We aim to ensure that payments that are made go to those who are most in need and are spread out fairly over the whole year.

Over what period can a Discretionary Housing Payment be awarded?

Payments can be backdated and can be either one-off awards or ongoing payments. However, as the funding available for Discretionary Housing Payments is limited in any one financial year, we will not normally make ongoing awards for longer than three months.

Claimants can re-apply for a further Discretionary Housing Payment when one comes to an end and this new application will be considered on its merits.

Changes in circumstances

You, or your appointee, must tell us straight away if there is a change in the conditions (including changes in your income and savings) under which the Discretionary Housing Payment was granted.

If your entitlement to housing benefit ends so will the Discretionary Housing Payment.

Overpayment of Discretionary Housing Payments

These are recoverable but this will not be done from any on-going housing benefit you have. Instead recovery will be made by sending you an invoice.

How do I apply?

Complete an online Discretionary Housing Payment application form.

How to contact us

Tower Hamlets has a centralised benefit claims processing service and a dedicated benefits call centre. Both are based at the Town Hall where all enquiries should be directed.

Benefits Service

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel: 020 7364 5000
Fax: 020 7364 7048

Email: benefits@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Home visits can be arranged if you are housebound and do not have anyone who can help you.