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Get extra help towards your rent and/or Council Tax if you are on a low income


Other information


If you’re struggling to pay your rent or council tax, you could get some extra help through a discretionary housing payment or an exceptional hardship payment.

Anyone getting Council Tax Reduction, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, which includes help towards housing costs, can ask for this.

We can’t guarantee you’ll get this help. We look carefully at your situation and any particular problems, such as your health and barriers to improving your circumstances. We’ll decide if we can help you out and how much we can give you, based on our policies.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you are getting Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit for your current home, the help can go towards meeting the shortfall in your rent, or one-off costs like rent deposits, rent in advance and removal costs.

You can’t get help if you are struggling because of: 

  • a cut in your housing benefit because we are getting back overpaid money
  • water and sewerage charges
  • service charges that don’t qualify for housing benefit
  • your rent payment going up to cover arrears
  • some sanctions and cuts in benefits

Exceptional Hardship payments

You can get help towards paying your Council Tax bill if you are struggling to pay because of exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional Hardship payments are for those who either apply for Council Tax Reduction but don’t qualify or those who do qualify but feel they need extra help.

We can’t award an Exceptional Hardship payment:

  • for any reason, other than to lower your Council Tax bill
  • where we decide you have not taken reasonable steps to reduce any unnecessary spending or your outstanding Council Tax bill is because you refused to pay
  • to cover Council Tax arrears prior to the previous financial year
  • to cover a shortfall caused by a Department for Work and Pensions sanction or suspension which has been applied because you have turned down work, an interview or training opportunities
  • to offset any penalties, court costs or enforcement agency costs

If we make a discretionary award to you, we may not make another award at a later date, even if your circumstances remain the same.  We will expect you to make efforts to either increase your income, reduce expenditure or improve your circumstances.


The form will tell you what evidence and information we need, based on your circumstances, to assess your claim. Use a smart phone or mobile device to take photographs of the evidence so you can upload them into the form.

You can upload the following file types:

  • bmp
  • jpeg
  • jpg
  • jpe
  • png

We cannot accept evidence in pdf format, but we can accept screenshots of a pdf if saved as one of the above file types. You will not be able to submit the claim until you have uploaded the evidence and information we need. This helps us to provide a better service.

Last reviewed: March 27, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: September 27, 2024

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