DHP’s can provide extra financial help with housing costs. In general, this means help to pay your rent. However, DHP’s can also be used to help with other lump sum costs relating to housing needs.
A DHP is paid from a cash limited fund given by Central Government each financial year. DHP’s are awarded at CBC’s discretion.
It is the intention of CBC that DHP’s are made in a fair, reasonable and consistent way. DHP’s can be awarded with the aims of:
The above list is not exhaustive. If an applicant is facing situations described above it does not mean an award will be made but it does mean CBC will have discretion when considering the claim.
To receive a DHP an applicant must be entitled to:
A DHP may help cover costs where there is, for example, a:
The above are examples and not exhaustive.
A claim can be made online at: www.colchester.gov.uk/dhp or by telephone, letter, or email. The claim can be made by an advocate acting on behalf of the applicant. We will act consistently in the way we process claims and will treat each method of application equally.
We may need to discuss the application in more detail to get more information or ask for evidence to be provided. If required information is not supplied within one calendar month of the request the application will not progress. Often we will require bank statements, rent statements and if relevant UC award notification.
Claims are decided by taking into account both the financial and personal circumstances of the applicant and the household members. When considering a claim it is important to identify the cause of the hardship and assess suitable remedies and whether it is possible to meet the housing costs from the household income or capital.
We will disregard the following income:
CBC may identify reasonable actions the applicant could take to remove the need to seek assistance from the fund. For example, these could include reducing any unnecessary expenditure, considering employment support, engaging with debt advice from a specialist agency, accessing existing capital or moving to a more affordable property.
An applicant’s willingness to take reasonable actions identified will be taken into account when considering the application.
The consequences of an award not being made will be taken into consideration when making the decision.
It may be required for an applicant to attend an appointment with our Customer Support Team to fully explore the issues and potential solutions.
The basis of many, but not all, DHP awards is to provide a period of support while the applicant takes steps to independently maintain their housing cost payments. We do have discretion to make enduring or longer-term awards dependant on the individual circumstances.
CBC has discretion to apply conditions to DHP awards. These conditions will indicate required actions to encourage longer-term change. The aim of these conditions will be to seek early resolution or improvements of the household’s financial position. Failure to adhere to these conditions may affect the outcome of any future DHP applications.
CBC intends to prioritise support, where needed, for:
Severely disabled residents living in significantly adapted accommodation
Approved or prospective adoptive parents
Approved or prospective foster carers
People affected by Welfare Reforms
Each application will be assessed on its own merits. However the following principles apply:
All applicants will be notified of the decision and reasons in writing. If an award has been made this will include start and end dates and information about how it will be paid. Applicants will be given information about how to ask for a review of the decision.
A DHP will be paid with the HB award or in the case of a UC applicant, to a nominated account. DHP’s may be paid to someone other than the applicant if we consider it reasonable to do so. In the case of a person entitled to a rent rebate, DHP’s will be credited to the rent rebate account.
An applicant must notify CBC of any change of circumstances which may affect the DHP award.
We can stop paying a DHP where:
A DHP can be recovered if a payment has been made as a result of misrepresentation or failure to disclose a material fact, either fraudulently or otherwise. It can also be recovered as a result of an error.
Changes of circumstances that result in an overpayment of DHP will be recovered by CBC. It is important applicants notify CBC of any changes as soon as possible to try and avoid overpayments.
Our DHP decision letters explain the applicants right to have the decision looked at again. This is called a review. A request for a review must be made in writing within one calendar month from the date of the decision letter.
Once a review request is received a different decision maker will reconsider the previous determination and either uphold the original decision or alter it at their discretion. Another decision letter will be sent giving full reasons of the review decision. Decisions on DHP’s do not carry a right of appeal to a Social Security Tribunal.
CBC will keep a record of the number of requests for revision as part of its monitoring purposes.
This information is effective from 1 April 2021 and is to be reviewed annually.