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Discretionary payments

If you’re struggling to pay your rent or council tax, you could get some extra help through a discretionary housing payment or discretionary council tax assistance.

Anyone getting council tax support, housing benefit or Universal Credit, which includes help towards housing costs, can ask for this.

This extra help does not come from the Government, but from us. We have to decide whether we can give that helping hand. Each case is looked at on its merits.

Tell us as much as you can

We can’t guarantee you’ll get this help. We look carefully at your situation and any particular problems such as health or money. We will decide if we can help you out and how much, based on everything you’ve told us.

If you are getting housing benefit or Universal Credit for your current home, the help can go towards one-off costs like rent deposits, rent in advance or removal costs.

This pot of money has gone up to help people affected by local housing allowance reductions, the benefit cap and the spare room subsidy. Top of the list will be requests from disabled people living in adapted homes or foster carers affected by the spare room subsidy to help them stay in their home. But we can’t make any guarantees.

You can’t get help if you are struggling because of:

  • a cut in your housing benefit because we are getting back overpaid money
  • water and sewerage charges
  • service charges that don’t qualify for housing benefit
  • your rent payment going up to cover arrears
  • some sanctions and cuts in benefits

How to apply

  • you must claim separately from council tax support, housing benefit or Universal Credit using our discretionary award claim form
  • make sure you tell us exactly why you are struggling to pay your rent or council tax and give us evidence to back up your claim. This could be a letter from a support worker, social worker or housing worker
  • be realistic and prepared for the help to be short-term. Show us what you are planning to do in future. This could be taking in a lodger, getting a job or moving to a cheaper home
  • discretionary housing payment policy