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About discretionary housing payments

If you have been awarded housing benefits or Universal Credit (which includes an allowance for housing element), 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 (see below). 

We may be able to help you with a rent deposit or rent in advance payment if you are moving home in the Lichfield District.

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 only want to apply for help with a rent deposit or rent in advance payment, you need to download and complete a short application form.
  • If you want to apply in any other circumstance, please download and complete an application form.
  • Email the completed form to
  • If you would like 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 provide evidence where necessary.
  • If you are in receipt of universal credit, you will need to provide a recent rent statement showing your current rent, a copy of the universal credit award letter showing the breakdown of your allowances, including the housing element, and a bank statement to show your account details for making any payment that may be awarded.
  • 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.
  • 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. Download our discretionary housing payment policy.

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Phone our contact centre: 01543 308 000
District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6YY

If you need to contact a team direct, please visit our contacts page for team phone numbers and email addresses.

Opening times

Our main reception at Frog Lane in Lichfield is open Monday - Friday, 8.45am - 5.15pm. Our phone lines close at 5pm.