Discretionary payments | Discretionary payments | Sevenoaks District Council
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Discretionary payments

You can apply for a Discretionary Payment if you need further financial assistance with your Council Tax and/or housing costs. There are two Discretionary Payment schemes:

Exceptional Hardship Payments can help with your Council Tax costs. To qualify you must be entitled to Council Tax Reduction or received Council Tax Reduction within the last six weeks.
 
Discretionary Housing Payments can help with your housing costs. To qualify you must be entitled to Housing Benefit (HB) or Universal Credit (UC) that includes a housing element towards rental liability.
 
Exceptional Hardship Payments
 
The exceptional hardship fund is a discretionary scheme set up by us and funded by the income from Council Tax. The amount of money we have for this is limited so the help available will be for a set period and amount.
 
If you are experiencing extreme financial hardship, then you may be able to claim some discretionary assistance with your Council Tax. This is not a cash payment, but a payment to your Council Tax account.
 
 
Discretionary Housing Payments
 
Discretionary Housing Payments are extra payments made at the Council's discretion to help people on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit who are in serious financial difficulty. They are not Housing Benefit awards but are free-standing payments and can only be made to help with housing costs for a specified time period. The amount of money we have for these payments are subject to an annual cash limit.

They can be made for:

  • Reductions in HB or UC where the benefit cap has been applied
  • Reductions in HB or UC due to the maximum rent (social sector) size criteria – in this category consideration will especially be given if the property has been significantly adapted and you have the need for such a property, or you are a foster carer
  • Reductions in HB or UC as a result of local housing allowance restrictions (LHA)
  • Rent officer restrictions such as local reference rent (LRR) or shared accommodation rate (SRR)
  • Non-dependant deductions in HB, or housing cost contributions in UC
  • Rent shortfalls to prevent homeless whilst the housing authority explores alternative options
  • Income taper reduction
  • Rent deposits or rent in advance schemes for a property that you have yet to move into if you are already entitled to HB or UC for your present home
  • Removal costs.

They cannot be made for:

  • Ineligible service charges, for example, water rates, electricity or meals
  • Increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • Certain sanctions and reductions in benefit
  • Assistance with Council Tax.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) for a shortfall in your rent

This form collects information about income and expenses and asks questions about your circumstances.

You will need to provide your last two months bank statements that show the payments of your outgoings. If you pay any of your bills by cash, you will need to provide the receipts as proof of payment. Please also provide proof of any repayment plans you have in place.

Make an application

Rent in advance or rent deposits

You will need to provide your last two months bank statements that show the payments of your outgoings. If you pay any of your bills by cash you will need to provide the receipts as proof of payment. Please also provide proof of any repayment plans you have in place.

You must also provide a letter from your new landlord or agent to confirm:

  • The amount of the rent in advance or rent deposit
  • The new property address
  • The date you wish to move in
  • The landlord or agents bank details as the DHP will normally be paid to them.

Make an application

Removal costs

You will need to provide your last two months bank statements that show the payments of your outgoings  If you pay any of your bills by cash you will need to provide the receipts as proof of payment. Please also provide proof of any repayment plans you have in place.

You must also provide the invoice or quote for the removal costs. The payments can be made directly to you if you have paid the money and have provided proof of this. If it has not been paid then we will pay it directly to the removal company so you will need to provide their bank details.

Make an application

Returning your application form

You can print the form and the return it with copies of your evidence by email, by post or by hand to one of our offices

You can collect a form from one of our offices or ask us to post one to you.

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