4. Discretionary Housing Payments

If you do not receive full Housing Benefit and cannot afford to make up the shortfall in your rent, you may be able to get temporary extra help.

This extra help is known as ‘Discretionary Housing Payments’.

Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be paid to cover services included in your rent, such as meals or heating charges.

Who is it for?

You can receive Discretionary Housing Payments if you have unusual circumstances and the Council thinks you need more help with your rent.

You must be receiving some Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of UC to qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

We look at things like:

  • Your weekly income and outgoings (but we may not take into account any outgoings that are not essential or that you could have avoided)
  • Is there anything you could do to help your situation (could move to cheaper accommodation or reduce your outgoings in any way)?
  • Your family circumstances (ages of children, health problems or disabilities)


Complete the online application form.

We may then contact you for further information. It is important that you give us as much information as you can about your circumstances.

How will the payments be made?

We will make the payment by BACS to you, or direct to your landlord.

How long do payments last?

Normally payments are for up to 12 weeks, but this may change depending on your circumstances.

During this time it is important that you try and help your situation yourself (for example, by moving to cheaper accommodation).

Change of circumstances

Discretionary Housing Payments are based on your circumstances at the date you apply.

You must tell the Housing Benefits Department straight away if your circumstances change (phone 0161 770 6633 or email benefits@oldham.gov.uk).

If you are not happy with a decision

We will write and tell you the reasons why we have or have not awarded you Discretionary Housing Payments.

If you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to explain the decision in more detail. You can do this at any time.

If you are not happy with our explanation or if you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to look at the decision again. You must do this in writing, within one month of the date of the decision and your letter must say why you do not agree with the decision.

A different senior officer to the one who made the first decision will then look at your case again and make a final decision. We will write to you within 14 days of the date we received your letter to let you know our final decision.

There is no further right of appeal against our final decision.