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Extra help with housing costs

If you need extra financial help with your housing costs you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) for help with rent and an Exceptional Hardship Payment (EHP) for help with Council Tax.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) and Exceptional Hardship Payments (EHP) are not part of the Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support schemes. There is a very limited amount of money available each year to fund both schemes, which means you may not be guaranteed to receive extra help.

Entitlement to extra help

You can apply for extra help if the amount of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support is less than the rent or Council Tax you have to pay.

You cannot apply for a DHP/ EHP to help pay the following:

  • Service charges within the rent charge that are not covered by the benefit scheme - such as heating, lighting, hot water, and other fuel costs or water rates, sewerage or other environmental costs,
  • Rent arrears,
  • Deductions from any benefit as a result of sanctions to Jobseekers Allowance, Child Support or other benefit related offences,
  • Suspended payments of Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support
  • Council Tax Support if you only receive Housing Benefit or Housing Benefit where you only receive Council Tax Support.

How to apply for a DHP or EHP

If you would like to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment or an Exceptional Hardship Payment you can apply online.

See Claim online - Discretionary Housing Payment / Exceptional Hardship Payment.

How the Benefits Team will decide if you are entitled to a DHP or an EHP

Basildon Council has a panel of officers who will consider all the facts of your case. The panel will consider the following when deciding if you are entitled to extra help:

  • The facts or each case,
  • What makes your circumstances different, exceptional or critical,
  • Whether a payment will provide real help to your situation,
  • How long you need the help for and whether there are other ways to help your financial situation.
  • How much will you get and for how long?

The award of a DHP or EHP is meant to be a short term solution to help you find cheaper accommodation or look at ways of improving and managing your finances.

How much you get depends on the circumstances of your household. We consider each case on an individual basis so the amount you get and the length of time you receive it may be different for each person. There is no guarantee you will receive any extra help through the DHP / EHP scheme.

If you disagree with the Benefits Team's decision

If you are unhappy with our decision, you must write to us within a month and we will reconsider our decision, a different officer will consider the appeal.

If you are still unhappy with our decision, you must let us know in writing and your case will be passed to the Operational Manager for Billing and Benefits for consideration, this decision will be final.

How DHPs and EHPs are paid

We will make a payment of DHP with your Housing Benefit and payment of EHP as a payment to your Council Tax account.

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