When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Help if your benefits don't cover your full rent

You can ask for extra help if your benefits do not cover your full rent. This extra help is a Discretionary Housing Payment or DHP. The Housing Executive makes these payments.

Getting extra help to pay rent

Apply for extra help if

  • you're renting from a private landlord or agent and
  • your benefits do not cover your full rent

If you rent from the Housing Executive or a housing association, you can only apply if

  • there are children in your home and
  • you get less Housing Benefit because you work

We can help you apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. The easiest way to apply is to use the Housing Executive's website. 

How much extra money will you get?

The Housing Executive decides how much extra money you'll get.

You can get the full difference between your rent benefit and your rent if

  • you're claiming benefits to help with rent for the first time in 12 months and
  • you could afford to pay your rent when you moved into the property

You can get the full difference between you rent benefit and your rent if

  • you're moving from a hostel or other temporary housing or
  • you're a young person leaving care

The amount you get if you do not fit the cases above depends on the cost of rent in your area. You might still have to pay your landlord more than what you get in benefits.

Getting a DHP

Tell the Housing Executive

  • why you need extra help
  • if you owe your landlord rent already
  • if there's a risk you'll be evicted if you do not get the payment

The Housing Executive will decide if you get a DHP and how much you will get. They’ll review your payment in April each year.  You need to tell the Housing Executive if your circumstances change. 

Increasing your DHP

You can ask the Housing Executive to increase your DHP if you are already getting one and

  • your Universal Credit reduced in October 2021 when the extra £20 payment stopped, or
  • your income or circumstances have changed and you need more help

We can help you do this.

Turned down for a DHP

You can ask for a review of a decision not to give you a DHP. We can help you do this.

Help to pay rates

You cannot get a discretionary housing payment to cover your rates payment. 

Housing Benefit includes help with rates, but Universal Credit does not. You need to apply for a rates rebate if you pay rates and get Universal Credit.