Changes to Discretionary Housing Payments in South Ayrshire

south-ayrshire-councilSouth Ayrshire Council is set to make changes to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) awards in order to bring the council into line with other Scottish local authorities.

To be introduced on April 1, the revisions to the council’s DHP Policy means that the benefit cap will no longer be included on the list of agreed ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The benefit cap is applied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and sets a limit on the amount of benefit that people receive.

The change also means a new 13 week limit on all DHP awards.

Tenants of South Ayrshire Council and housing associations affected by under occupancy will continue to receive DHP awards to mitigate the full cost of the under occupancy rental shortfall

Councillor Philip Saxton, the council’s housing and customer services portfolio holder, said: “Discretionary Housing Payments have been a real help to many households and families across South Ayrshire. However, the level of ongoing support is simply not sustainable in the current economic climate and we cannot continue to bear the burden in this way.

“DHP funding was never designed to be a long-term solution and the changes agreed to our policy will keep it reasonable and affordable, while supporting claimants who are working to change their circumstances and reduce the need for DHPs.

“We do appreciate how difficult it can be for some people – especially those on benefits payments – to manage their finances and our Information and Advice Hub is there to help with free, confidential and impartial assistance with debt and money management.

“With our revised policy, we will continue to do what we can to support claimants with DHP support and we will review the impact of the revised policy after the first six months.”

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