Extra financial help (discretionary payments)
About discretionary payments
If you have been awarded housing benefits, but are still struggling with your bills, you can ask us to consider giving you extra financial help, known as 'discretionary housing payments'. There is no fixed rate for discretionary payments and all payments are calculated on your individual circumstances. The most we can pay is the difference between the benefit you are already receiving and your 'eligible housing costs*'.
Discretionary payments are only given to those most in need and are paid entirely at the council's own discretion.
How to apply for discretionary housing payments
If you want to apply for discretionary housing payment you need to fill in and submit an application form. Here's how:
- Visit our offices in Frog Lane, Lichfield or in Burntwood Library to pick up a claim form.
- If you need more information or would like us to send you a claim form, call the benefits team on 01543 308900.
Please give as much information as you can when filling in your form and and provide evidence where necessary. Your request will be considered by a benefits team manager and he/she will write to you as soon as they have made a decision.
If your application is successful, your discretionary payment will be included with your normal payment for housing benefit.
Please note: The amount you receive and the length of time we will pay you a discretionary payments is subject to the council's own discretion.
Can you appeal our decision?
Discretionary housing payments are made outside of the housing benefit schemes and therefore you have no statutory appeal rights. However, if you are unhappy with our decision you can write and ask us to look at it again and a different manager will do this.
What if your circumstances change?
If your circumstances change you must tell us straight away. Find out more.
*What are eligible housing costs?
We view housing costs as the amount you are charged for rent, including any services, which are usually detailed in a tenancy agreement. Housing benefit/discretionary payments cannot be paid for certain services, which are considered 'ineligible'. These include services such as fuel, hot water, meals, water, sewerage, or increases in rent to cover arrears. Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be awarded to help with payments of Council Tax.