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 4: The application process

13. How applications can be made

13.1 An LA is not required to wait for a formal application. If an LA is satisfied an individual is entitled to mitigation, and the LA has all necessary data, the LA can take steps to calculate, and make, the appropriate payment. In cases where the LA holds partial data (e.g. requires bank details, evidence of additional housing costs), the LA may choose how to collect those.

13.2 Where a DHP is made to an individual, that individual should receive a notice confirming the amount of payment. In circumstances where no application has been received, it may be prudent to allow the recipient an opt-out.

13.3 Where an LA decides further information is needed from an individual they may decide how to collect that data. With consideration for equality and accessibility, an LA may choose to provide any/all data collection methods of; paper, electronic, telephone, online application methods, or face to face interviews.

14. Information an individual must provide

14.1 In order to apply for a DHP, the individual must provide any information the LA needs to make a decision, for example, proof of HB/UC deductions, details of income, capital and expenditure.

14.2 When deciding how to treat income from disability-related benefits such as Adult Disability Payment (ADP), Child Disability Payment (CDP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), LAs should consider each DHP application on a case-by-case basis having regard to each component of the benefits in payment, the purpose of those disability related benefits and whether the money from those benefits has been committed to other liabilities associated with disability. See Section 13: Legal considerations, for more information on how Scottish LAs should regard to the decision of the ‘High Court in R v. Sandwell MBC, ex parte Hardy’.

15. Claims by another person on behalf of the individual

15.1 If reasonable in the circumstances, for example, if an individual is vulnerable and requires support, an application can be accepted from someone acting on behalf of the individual.

16. Awarding DHPs on two homes

16.1 A DHP can be awarded in respect of two homes when someone is treated as temporarily absent from their main home. This includes;

  • those who have fled their main home because they are a victim of domestic abuse
  • a couple, where one is a student having to reside elsewhere
  • a family too large for one house so have been housed by a Housing Authority in two separate dwellings

16.2 In such cases of temporary absence, if the individual is treated as liable for rent on both properties and, in both cases, there is a shortfall, it is possible to award a DHP in respect of both properties subject to the weekly or monthly limit of “housing costs” on each property.

16.3 If the two properties are in different LA areas, it may be useful to agree that each LA will provide the DHP support for the property in their own area.

16.4 There may also be cases where there has been an unavoidable overlap in housing cost liability due to an individual moving home. A DHP may be awarded up to the shortfall in total housing costs reasonably incurred where the customer could demonstrate a need to move and:

  • the delay in moving is due to the customer awaiting assistance with furnishing so that they could reasonably be expected to occupy the property and the customer can demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to achieve this; an award for a period up to 6 weeks may be paid, unless there are exceptional circumstances
  • the customer has moved to the new home but the overlap was unavoidable an award for a period up to 4 weeks may be paid, unless there are exceptional circumstances

17. Delivering the decision

17.1 LAs must inform the individual of the DHP decision either in writing or electronically (if the individual has agreed to this). This information should include appropriate explanations and/or any reasons for non-payment.

17.2 This must be done as soon as is reasonably practicable. LAs must be consistent and avoid unnecessary delay, considering that an application for DHPs is often to deal with an immediate need.

18. Review process

18.1 When issuing a decision, LAs should provide information about the process in place for reviewing the decision.

18.2 An LA may decide who in the authority reviews a decision. There is no requirement that the review arrangements take any format as long as the authority is consistent and the original decision maker is not involved.

18.3 A decision on a DHP does not carry a right of appeal to a Social Security Tribunal. The route of judicial review is available and a complaint may be made to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) if there is an allegation of maladministration.

18.4 The individual should be notified of any review outcome in writing, including reasons, as soon as is reasonably practical. LAs should provide information that a decision on a DHP does not carry a right of appeal to a Social Security Tribunal, but that the route of judicial review is available and a complaint may be made to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) if there is an allegation of maladministration.



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