Get extra help

Do you need any extra help?

You may be experiencing some difficulty paying your rent or have other rent related costs that you're struggling to cover. This might be especially due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Southwark Council's Financial Inclusion Team would like to help you where this is possible.

If you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit we may be able to help. We have 2 ways we can assist you:

  • Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
  • Extended Payment of Housing Benefit

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

We offer a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help with housing costs if you already receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.

DHP's are subject to the appeals process that applies to Housing Benefit, although a review of decisions can be requested. Funding is limited and when it runs out no further applications are accepted.

We usually award DHPs for short term periods and to those taking steps to help themselves (by looking for work, somewhere else to live, or a long term solution to their financial problems). DHPs aren't automatically renewed.

We prioritise funds for the most vulnerable people who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship. Backdated payments are unlikely, but we'll consider such payments if there's good reason for the delay in applying and proof is provided.

Our DHP policy for 2021 to 2022 (PDF, 365kb) contains the full details.

Who can claim Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

You may get a Discretionary Housing Payment if:

  • you're receiving Housing Benefit or housing element of Universal Credit 
  • your Housing Benefit has been reduced because of the benefit cap
  • you're a council tenant affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ and have exceptional circumstances

How payments are considered

We may be able to help if:

  • you can’t afford the property you live in (we can help with a deposit on a more affordable home)
  • there's a shortfall between your Housing Benefit /housing element of Universal Credit and your Rent
  • you're affected by the benefit cap or Social Sector Size Criteria (bedroom tax) (this will depend on your individual circumstances)
  • you're affected by the Local Housing Allowance reforms
Even if you're affected by the changes, it doesn't mean we can automatically help you

Make a claim

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

How to appeal

If you disagree with a decision, you can ask for it to be reconsidered. You need to contact us within one month of the date on your decision letter and provide all extra documentation requested (if applicable).

Submit an appeal form online

Extended payment of Housing Benefit

Some benefits stop if you start work, work more hours or earn more.

If this happens you might qualify for an extra 4 weeks of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. This is called an Extended Payment of Housing Benefit.

You qualify for an Extended Payment if you’ve received certain benefits for at least 26 weeks and they ended because of the change in your work. The work must be expected to last at least 5 weeks. The benefits include:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

You don’t have to claim an Extended Payment; if you qualify, we’ll tell you, although we might have to write to you for further information to check if you qualify. 

Page last updated: 29 November 2023


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