FOI Request (FOI-1473)
How long can you claim discretionary housing payments for ?
Re: Freedom of Information Request.
Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, received 15 September 2018. Your request has been considered and our response is in bold below.
You requested the following:
How long can you claim discretionary housing payments for?
The Council’s Response
We can confirm that there is no maximum legal time limit to the length for which an award of DHP can be made by a local authority.
However, the amount that Councils can pay out in DHP’s is limited by the government and all payments are discretionary. The amount of money available for Discretionary Housing Payments can only meet a small percentage of the demand, and no award is automatic. Once the annual budget for DHP’s has been spent, no more payments can be made until the start of the next financial year.
In reality most cases Discretionary Housing Payments are paid for a limited period, often a few months, to provide individuals with short term help towards their housing costs. This allow individual applicants extra time to enable them to consider their housing options, to take reasonable steps to resolve their situation, and come to a long term sustainable solution. Individuals can reapply at the end of any award, and each reapplication will be considered on its merits. DHP’s are not intended to be permanent solution to a shortfall between rent and Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
There may be exceptional cases where DHP awards are made for a longer period, but the exact period of the award is at the discretion of the Council and will depend on the individual circumstances of the individual. A longer term award may be appropriate where circumstances are unlikely to change in the short term, and a short award could cause undue distress. But the period of the award will be decided by LAs on a case by case basis looking at the whole facts of the case.
More information and our DHP policy on can be found at: https://www.hackney.gov.uk/discretionary-housing-payments.
We hope this answers your Freedom of Information request. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
Appeals & Complaints Procedure
If you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to appeal, please write to the Information Management Team and this will be dealt with through our Internal Review procedure.
Information Management Team - Governance
London Borough of Hackney
Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
London E8 1DY
Your request for an internal review should be submitted to us within 40 working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the Council.
If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at the contact details provided below.
Information Commissioner"s Office
Telephone: 01625 545 700
Information Management Team