Ministerial advice on DHP payments..21 May 2013

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on treatment of vulnerable recipients of discretionary housing payments at the end of a six-month award. [156211]

Steve Webb: There is no limit to the length of time over which a discretionary housing payment may be made. It may be appropriate for the local authority to make a short-term award to give a claimant time to sort out their financial or housing circumstances, particularly if they are trying to find alternative accommodation or gain employment. A time-limited award may also be appropriate when an impending change of circumstances will result in an increase in benefit.

Alternatively, the local authority may wish to make an indefinite award until the claimant's circumstances change. The start and end dates of an award are decided by the local authority, on a case by case basis.

When there is a specific end date to the award, local authorities should make it clear to the claimant what the period of the award is and how to re-apply, if necessary.