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 6: After an award has been made

21. Change of circumstances

21.1 An individual receiving a DHP must notify the LA of any change of circumstances which may be relevant to their DHP application or award. Similarly, if an individual has been assisted in making a claim or had a claim made on their behalf e.g. by a Housing Officer, that party should also report changes in circumstances as they become aware of them.

21.2 The LA must ensure that the individual is aware of the changes they should report. There is no statutory timescale for notification, however, individuals should be advised to notify of changes as soon as reasonably practicable. It is for each LA to decide how such changes are notified.

22. Stopping DHP payments

22.1 There are instances when a DHP can be stopped before the end date already indicated to the individual. These are if:

  • the individual is no-longer in receipt of HB or UC with housing cost element
  • the LA decides that a DHP is being, and/or has been, made because an individual has misrepresented or failed, fraudulently or otherwise, to disclose a material fact
  • the individual has been paid because of an error
  • an individual no longer needs further financial assistance towards housing costs 

22.2 When stopping DHPs before the end date already indicated to the individual, LAs should notify that individual.

23. Recovering overpaid DHPs

23.1 A DHP award can only be recovered if an LA decides that payment has been made because of:

  • a misrepresentation or failure to disclose a material fact by the individual (either fraudulently or otherwise)
  • an error made when the application was determined
  • a processing error

23.2 An LA may wish to recover an overpayment of DHP caused by a retrospective change to the individuals benefit entitlement where this results in an increase of HB or UC housing element. This scenario can be treated as an error made in the HB or UC benefits determination, which resulted in an error in the DHP determination meaning DHP was overpaid.

23.3 Each LA may follow its own debt recovery guidance. However, a DHP cannot be recovered from ongoing HB, UC, or other prescribed benefits.

23.4 Each LA may follow its own debt recovery guidance, but as a method of recovery may want to consider requesting repayment of the debt from the claimant or the landlord if the DHP is paid directly to them. This may be in the form of an invoice or any other method the LA chooses, for example using debt collection agencies or via the courts. An LA may also consider offsetting overpaid DHPs if further DHPs are granted at a later date.

23.5 When issuing a notice of intention to recover overpaid DHPs, LAs should provide information about the process in place for reviewing that decision.



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