Discretionary Payments allow us to make additional payments to people who receive housing benefit and/or council tax support who appear to need further help with their rent and/or council tax payments.
What are Discretionary Payments?
Discretionary Payments allow Councils to make additional payments to people who receive housing benefit and/or council tax support who appear to need further help with their rent and/or council tax payments.
These are not intended to be long term ongoing payments; they are awarded on a short term basis while you take action to improve your circumstances.
How do I get Discretionary Payments?
If you think you are eligible for a Discretionary Payment you should contact the Benefits Section, who will provide you with an application form.
What will I need to tell you?
When you complete the form we will need to know why you think you should get an additional payment towards your rent and/or council tax payments, what your circumstances are, any action you have taken to help yourself and anything else you think may help us make a decision.
You should supply as much detail as possible so that we fully understand your situation.
You will also need to tell us about all the money you have coming into your household (income) and all the money you pay out each week/month (expenditure).
When you have completed and returned your form we will consider all aspects of your circumstances before we decide if we can award you a Discretionary Payment. We may wish to visit you at home or ask you to come into the office to discuss your application further.
How will the Benefits Section make a decision about Discretionary Payments?
We will consider all requests for Discretionary Payments while trying to ensure that payments are made to those most in need.
Each request will be considered on its own merits, but you will need to demonstrate that you do not have the means to pay the shortfall in your rent or council tax yourself and that you have not intentionally taken on a tenancy that you knew you could not afford.
Wherever it is possible and reasonable to do so, you will be expected to take steps to improve the circumstances that have led to the need for a discretionary payment, for example - finding more affordable accommodation.
Can I claim Discretionary Payments to cover all my costs?
Discretionary Payments cannot be awarded for any of the following:
- Ineligible service or support charges
- Any rent you have to pay if you only qualify for council tax support
- Any council tax you have to pay if you only qualify for housing benefit or second adult rebate
- Increases in your rent to cover rent arrears
- Reductions in any benefit as a result of child support
- Amounts of housing benefit or council tax support that have been suspended
How much money can I get?
Discretionary Payments will be paid at the discretion of South Kesteven District Council, but they will not be greater than your weekly rent or council tax liability. For example if your eligible rent is £50.00 per week and your entitlement to housing benefit is £45.00 the maximum Discretionary Housing Payment you can get is £5.00 per week.
If you are awarded a Discretionary Payment and we later find out you should not have been entitled to it, we will ask you to return the money.
What if you turn my request down?
If your application for a Discretionary Payment is turned down and there is something you feel we have not considered or were not aware of; we will look at our decision again if you write to us within one month of the date that we inform you that your claim has been refused.
Download a DP form [44kb].