With the sudden change to single peoples housing benefits at the start of this month, and the reduction of 2 & 3 bedroom rates, we will be expecting an increase of rent arrears.
However, there is a fund available to help, Discretionary Housing Payments help people who need extra help with their rent and Council Tax when Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit do not meet the full value of their rent or Council Tax.
When they can make a payment
The Council can only make a Discretionary Housing Payment if they believe that the person’s circumstances call for further financial help. Each case is assessed on its individual merits. The finances and personal circumstances of the applicant are carefully considered and taken into account.
Examples of circumstances when a Discretionary Housing Payment may be awarded are:
- If you have extra expenses due to special circumstances, such as someone being ill or in hospital.
- If your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit has been reduced because you have been in hospital for more than 52 weeks.
- If there are special reasons why you need to stay in a particular property, but the Rent Officer has restricted the amount of rent we use in the calculation.
- If your Council Tax Benefit has been restricted to Band E.
The above list only provides examples and does not cover all the circumstances in which a Discretionary Housing Payment is awarded.
So do not despair until you have asked at your local council office……