Claiming a DHP
Claiming a DHP
A claim for a DHP should be made in writing
- The Council will then issue the claimant with a DHP form for completion. The claimant must return the completed form to the Council within one month of its issue, for the claim to proceed.
- All applications for a DHP must be made by the HB benefit claimant or Universal Credit claimant and in the case of a married or unmarried couple as decided for statutory HB purposes must be made jointly, or a legal appointee.
- The Council may require the claimant to attend an interview where possible to discuss the application and request any reasonable evidence to support the claim for a DHP. The Council will make such requests in writing and the claimant should provide the evidence within one month. Existing evidence, which supported their HB claim if applicable, may be taken into account. Information may also be obtained from DWP particularly for Universal Credit applicants.
- If the claimant does not provide the required evidence, the Council will still consider the application. However, the Council may disregard any unsubstantiated statements or draw its own conclusions from other evidence available.
- The Council may in any circumstances verify any information or evidence provided by the claimant by contacting third parties, other organisations and the claimant.
Period of award
The Council will decide the start date of the claim for DHP, taking into account the claimants circumstances. This date may be:
(i) the date on which the claim for a DHP is received by the Council; or
(ii) the date on which entitlement to HB commenced; or
(iii) another more appropriate date dependent on the circumstances of the case
- The Council cannot award a DHP for any period outside an existing HB benefit period granted under the HB statutory scheme or outside an existing UC period.
- The Council will not usually award a DHP for a period exceeding 12 months.
- The Council will consider any reasonable request for backdating an award of DHP. All such requests should give the reasons why the application was not made at an earlier time.
The Council reserves its discretion to make backdated awards of DHP, but in any case will not make awards where:
(a) the underlying conditions for an award are not met; and
(b) the application was made more than 3 months after the period for which it is made.
The amount of DHP awarded
The award of a DHP will be the exception rather than the norm. The Council will consider whether to award a DHP and the amount of any such award. It will take into account:
- the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit in payment
- the liability of the claimant to pay rent, net of any deductions specified by Regulation 3 of the Discretionary Financial Regulations 2001
- whether a persons maximum Housing Benefit has been restricted by the Rent Officer Service, the amount of Local Housing Allowance or the Council; and if so:
(a) the amount of the restriction;
(b) the reason for the restriction;
(c) the length of time that the restriction has been imposed.
- Steps taken by the claimant to reduce their rent liability.
- the financial and social health/medical circumstances of the claimant, their partner and any dependants and any other occupants of the claimant's home;
- the income and "essential" expenditure of the claimant or their family;
- any savings or capital that might be held by the claimant, their partner and any dependants or other occupants of the claimant's home;
- the availability and any steps taken by the claimant to obtain extra income or to reduce expenditure of the claimant or their family;
- the level of indebtedness of the claimant and their family;
- the exceptional nature of the claimant and their family's circumstances.
Whether there have been any previous awards of DHP; and if so
(a) the number, length and dates of those awards; and
(b) what action the claimant has taken to reduce the need for a DHP
- the impact on the claimant should the claim to DHP not be granted
- the amount of money available to the Council to spend on this scheme within the cash limits specified by the Secretary of State from time to time. The Council may take into account expenditure and estimated committed expenditure.
In relation to a request for a one off payment the Council will consider:
- what is the need;
- what capital and resources has the applicant to meet the need;
- is the need able to be met from elsewhere e.g rent bond guarantee scheme. If not, why not:
- would meeting the need mean the applicant was able to sustain their housing costs without additional assistance.
The award of DHP at one time does not guarantee that a further award will be made at a later date even if the claimant's circumstances remain the same. The Council cannot fetter its discretion in making one decision on a claim with regard to a later claim by the same claimant.
The Council, taking account of the above matters and the statutory limits imposed by DFA Regs, will decide the amount of any DHP award. The Council may decide not to award anything or may award any amount up to the maximum allowed under the DFA Regs.