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The Discretionary Housing Payments Scheme (DHP)

The Discretionary Housing Payments Scheme (DHP) is funded by Central Government and administered by local councils.   

The Government provide Sunderland City Council with a limited budget each financial year to be used for DHP awards, and also provide a maximum limit on what each council can spend on DHP. Once this budget has been used, no further awards can be made in that year. 

A DHP may be awarded in some instances where the applicant requires further financial assistance towards their housing costs. For the majority of applicants this is intended to be short term financial support. 

To qualify for a DHP you must be entitled to either Universal Credit with housing costs (UC) or Housing Benefit (HB). 

A DHP may help towards a shortfall where your UC or HB does not cover your full eligible rent, but it may occasionally be awarded to help with other housing costs.  Please see our DHP frequently asked questions for further details. 

The DHP scheme aims to provide financial support, allowing the applicant time to look at improving their financial circumstances, their employment situation and/or the opportunity to secure cheaper alternative accommodation. 

As the DHP scheme has a limited budget, each DHP application is considered on its own individual merits, within the context of the Council's DHP Policy and Operational Guidance. 

If you are struggling to make your money last, or are worried about how you will pay your bills, there are a range of free services available providing advice on debt and money management, housing options, affordable credit, and secure savings options. Further details can be found at  Managing your money.

You may also benefit from a financial resilience check to ensure you are receiving the full range of benefits you are entitled to. For details of these services can be found at Where to get help and advice  

When reviewing your DHP application we will look at your income and expenditure to decide if you qualify for extra financial support. 

Answers to some commonly asked questions, including information on eligibility and details of what a DHP can and can't cover, can be found in our DHP frequently asked questions.

Full details of our DHP scheme can be found in our DHP policy.

How to apply 

  • First, check your eligibility for a DHP by reading 'Would I qualify for a DHP to cover a shortfall in my rent?' in our DHP frequently asked questions
  • If you feel you may be eligible for a DHP you can complete a DHP application form. You are currently unable to complete an application online, so please download and print a copy of the form so you can complete it 
  • The completed form should be sent to Health, Housing and Communities, City Hall, Plater Way SR1 3AA
  • Alternatively, you can complete an application over the telephone by contacting our Home and Money Team on 0191 520 5551

Before you start your application, have the following information to hand: 

  • All National Insurance numbers 
  • Details and amounts of all income including earnings and benefits 
  • Details of all expenditure (this is your outgoings such as gas and electricity bills)
  • Details of all savings and capital 
  • Your household details 
  • Your rent and tenancy details 

Where applicable, all fields in the application form should be completed providing as much detail as possible. We may ask you to provide evidence of some of this information in support of your application, for example statements verifying savings and capital. 

Your application may be delayed or refused if you do not provide information requested. 

For further information on how the Council uses your personal information, please refer to our Privacy Notice on the Council Website.

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