A scheme exists which grants Councils powers to make Discretionary Housing Payments (D HP) to top up the Housing Benefit Statutory Scheme. The legislation governing Haps can be found in the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001 (S1 001/1167). (D FA Regulations).
The main features of the scheme are:
- the claimant does not have a statutory right to payment
- the total amount that can be paid by an Authority in any financial year is cash-limited by the Secretary of State
- the operation of the scheme is at the discretion of the Council with specific exceptions
- the scheme is completely separate from the Statutory Housing Benefit (HBO) Scheme apart from the fact that the customer must be entitled to Housing Benefit
- If they are not entitled to Housing Benefit they must be entitled to Universal Credit (IC) with housing costs included and have a rental liability
- The weekly D HP amount awarded must not exceed the maximum HBO that could be awarded in that case
- A one off award can be made for other housing costs, such as rental deposits, rent in advance and other needs such as removal costs.