Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment: guidance manual

Discretionary Housing Payment guidance manual for local authorities in Scotland, for use from 1 April 2024, issued by Scottish Ministers.

Section 10: Priority groups

28. Groups to consider prioritising

28.1 After applying bedroom tax and benefit cap mitigation, LAs will need to consider how best to target funding within priority groups, whilst remembering that each case must be considered on its own individual merits.

28.2 You may also wish to assist certain other groups to stay in their home, for example:

  • people who have had to flee domestic abuse or have moved because of the threat of violence in another area (taking into account wider forms of violence against women and girls, as set out in Scotland’s Equally Safe strategy)
  • people affected by domestic abuse who remain in a property which has been adapted under a sanctuary scheme
  • young people leaving LA care until they reach the age of 35 (after which they will no longer be affected by the shared accommodation rate)
  • families with kinship care arrangements. Children who go into the care of family and friends are often extremely vulnerable. They will usually benefit from the stability of remaining in a familiar area and continuing to attend their local school. If the current housing is not an appropriate size for kinship care families, you may want to assist in ensuring they are able to move to appropriate housing in their local area
  • families with a disabled child not in receipt of upper or middle rate of Child Disability Payment but whose condition makes sharing a bedroom difficult
  • couples who are unable to share a bedroom due to disabilities but are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • families who are providing long term care to a disabled child or non-dependant
  • people with shared care arrangements; the person who does not receive the Child Benefit will not receive calculations for the children in their housing entitlement
  • people who are providing a room for an adult placement
  • people who are victims of human trafficking and wider forms of Commercial Sexual exploitation
  • where a child in the household is due to reach a significant birthday which means an additional bedroom will be allowed under the size criteria
  • people who have experienced homelessness being supported to settle in the community
  • people with health or medical problems, either physical or mental, who need access to local medical services or support that might not be available elsewhere
  • disabled people who need, or have had, significant adaptations made to their property, or where they are living in a property particularly suited to their needs. This includes properties which have been adapted for other members of the household, such as disabled children or non-dependants
  • where the individual or someone in their household has an impairment, which requires them to have a larger property than would usually be the case for the size of their household. This may be due to, for example, where a bedroom is used for storage of medical equipment or used to support their disability for example, sensory room
  • disabled people who receive informal care and support in their current neighbourhood from family and friends, which would not be available in a new area. In this respect, you may also consider families who have a child with an impairment who rely heavily on local support networks
  • the elderly or frail who have lived in the area for a long time and would find it difficult to establish support networks in a new area
  • people who need to live near their jobs because they work unsocial hours or split shifts; or where moving home may mean living in an area where public transport would be inadequate to enable them to sustain their current job
  • people who are refugees who need to maintain stability in their financial and housing circumstances
  • single under 35-year-olds who may find it difficult to live in shared accommodation, for example, due to a traumatic event

28.3 Consideration should be given to how DHPs may support wider efforts to tackle and reduce child poverty, which is one of three shared priority areas set out in the Verity House Agreement. In doing so you may wish to consider how support may be directed to support the six priority family types at greatest risk of poverty. This includes:

  • lone parent families, the large majority of which are headed by women
  • families which include a disabled adult or child
  • families with three or more children
  • minority ethnic families
  • families with a child under one year old
  • families where the mother is under 25 years of age

28.4 In considering targeting to tackle and reduce child poverty, you may wish to give consideration to specific critical points where families may face increased financial pressure. For example:

  • parents who are transitioning into work and require support to ensure stability and security during this period
  • where someone in the household is expecting a baby (including those currently in shared accommodation)
  • families with a child temporarily in care but who is expected to return home. What constitutes temporary will be at the discretion of your LA
  • families with a social services intervention, for example highly dependent adults, children at risk or involvement in a family intervention project



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