Ask CPAG Online - How do you make a claim for a DHP?
Although the law requires you to make a claim for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) and explain why you need one, it does not specify how an application must be made.1
It is, therefore, up to each local authority (LA) to decide how an application can be made and which department within the council deals with applications. You should find out about your council’s scheme to see how and where you should apply for a DHP (see ‘How can you find out about your local DHP scheme?).
Your LA may have a DHP application form you can use, or ask you to make a written application in a letter. The law does not require an application to be made in writing, so you are entitled to make an application by telephone, electronically, or in person at a council office.
It may be best to follow up a verbal application with a confirmatory letter to ensure the LA has accepted your application and has all the relevant evidence about your circumstances. You may be asked to attend an interview with a council officer to give details about your claim and circumstances.
The DHP Guidance Manual and Good Practice Guide for LAs advises LAs that they:
- have a duty to act consistently when deciding how to accept applications and what constitutes a valid application (paragraph 3.2 of the Guidance Manual);
- can accept applications from an appointee or other person acting on our behalf if you are vulnerable and need support, or have asked another person to act for you (paragraph 3.4 of the Guidance Manual);
- should properly publicise their scheme (paragraph 4.5 of the Good Practice Guide) which could extend to proactively inviting claimants affected by rental shortfalls to apply for a DHP (paragraph 3.2 of the Guidance Manual), and assisting vulnerable claimants to make claims by visiting them at home (paragraph 4.7 of the Good Practice Guide);
- can ‘contract out’ the administration of DHPs (including making decisions on applications) to another organisation (paragraph 4.9 of the Guidance Manual).
- 1. Regulations 3 and 7 Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001