Discretionary payments

Discretionary payments provide extra financial help towards your rent and Council Tax. They can help you through temporary difficulties or periods of hardship. There are two types of payments.

Discretionary Housing Payments

To qualify for help towards your rent:

  • you need to be in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and
  • the amount of your Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, is less than the amount of rent you are charged and
  • we must be satisfied you need more financial support

Discretionary Council Tax Payments

To qualify for help with your Council Tax:

  • you need to be responsible for paying the Council Tax and
  • we must be satisfied that you need financial support

How to claim

Fill in the online form below. It will take about 20 minutes to complete, and we would encourage you to give us as much information as you can. If you wish to claim for both types of payments you only have to make one application to us.

Apply for a discretionary payment

There are also two versions of the application form at the bottom on this page which can be downloaded. One of them is for people affected by the benefit cap, and the other is for all other situations.

Making our decision

There are no set criteria which gives us the flexibility to help people who are not eligible for other types of benefits and financial support. We look at:

  • your household's income, savings, expenditure and debts
  • the amount of help you get towards your rent and Council Tax and the amounts you have to pay
  • temporary hardship and difficulties when starting work
  • any illness or disability in your household which makes it difficult for you to move to cheaper accommodation.
  • if you have been affected by the benefit cap
  • if your property is too big for your household but there are reasons why you need the extra bedrooms
  • circumstances affecting you that are beyond your control

What happens when you've applied

We will give you a decision within 14 days. Sometimes we will ring you to speak to your about your application, so please put your contact details on the form.

For more information about how we reach a decision please see our policy document at the bottom of this page.