Discretionary Awards

If you’re finding it difficult to pay your rent or Council Tax, you could get some extra help through a Discretionary Housing Payment or Discretionary Council Tax Assistance.

Anyone getting Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which includes help towards housing costs can ask for this extra help. 

What are they?

Discretionary Council Tax Assistance (DCTA) or Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are not payments of Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit. They are separate payments made at Taunton Deane Borough Council’s discretion when we decide you need extra help with your Council Tax or housing costs.

We will decide every claim on its own merits. Making an application does not guarantee an award. We will take into account your and your family’s personal, medical and financial circumstances. We will decide if we should give you extra help and if so, how much, based on all your circumstances.

A DCTA or DHP award does not guarantee we will decide you should get another award at a later date even if your circumstances do not change.

What they can help with

You might need help towards your Council Tax or rent for a number of reasons, including reductions in your Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit because of:

If you are getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for your current home, a DHP can also help with one-off costs such as help to take up a tenancy like rent deposits, rent in advance or removal costs.

Discretionary Housing Payment funding has increased to help those affected by local housing allowance reductions, the benefit cap and the size criteria restrictions in the social rented sector. While we cannot guarantee extra help, we will prioritise requests from disabled people living in adapted accommodation or foster carers affected by the social rent sector size restriction to help them stay in their home. We will also look favourably on payments that directly help to keep people in work or for those moving into a property to keep within the new rent restrictions.

You can’t get help if you have difficulties paying your costs because of:

How to claim

You must claim DCTA and DHP separately from Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit using our Discretionary Award claim form

Make sure you give a full description of the reasons why you are struggling to pay your housing or Council Tax costs and provide evidence to support your request; for example a letter from a support worker, social worker or housing worker.

You might have more chance of success if you are asking for something realistic and time-limited, rather than something that will commit us to long-term funding. If so, it might be good to show us what you are planning to do to get a longer term permanent solution, for example, taking in a lodger, getting a job or moving to cheaper accommodation.

Discretionary housing payment policy