Single Discretionary Award Scheme

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Can I get help to manage my money better?

We have some useful budgeting tools provided by the Money Advice Service. These include a Money Manager for Universal Credit claimants.

The Single Discretionary Award Scheme

'Supporting individuals, to better themselves and Derby'

The Single Discretionary Award Scheme is a new service that brings together Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Hardship payments and the Local Assistance Scheme.

A single application form for this award is currently in development for now, please complete the most appropriate form for your circumstances. The link for the application forms can be found at the bottom of this page.

We have introduced a new support element to this service. When you make an application, we may assess your need for other support services. Where we identify a need for support we will make referrals to our partners to provide that support.

Applicants must be willing to take up and remain engaged with the most appropriate support recommended by the Council, which may include: money advice, budgeting support, access to banking products, access to digital skills support, better off calculations, access to job clubs and training and housing advice. Certain groups, including pensioners, will be excluded from any 'towards work' requirements.

We may not ask you to engage with 'towards work' activity where you:

  • Are in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance and are in the Support Group
  • Are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance at either the higher rate of Care or the higher rate of the Mobility Component but do not fall in to a protected group above
  • Are in receipt of Personal Independence Payment at the enhanced rate of either the Daily Living component or the mobility component and do not fall in to a protected group above. 
  • Are a carer, in receipt of Carers Allowance

If you do not engage with your support programme, any award that you receive from the Single Discretionary Award Scheme may be at risk. Please see the policy and guidance relating to awards at the bottom of this page for more information.

What can I apply for from the Single Discretionary Award Scheme?

There a number of awards that can be made from the Single Discretionary Award Scheme. Where an award is made, it may be a combination of different elements. All elements of the award are listed below:

  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Payments to support a move to cheaper alternative accommodation
  • Council Tax Hardship Payments
  • Utilities and/or food
  • Goods for the home.

Discretionary Housing Payment Element

Discretionary Housing Payments are a way of helping you if the Housing Benefit you get is not enough to pay your rent. Our Benefits section is responsible for the scheme and will decide whether or not you can get extra help.

Discretionary Housing Payments are not the same as Housing Benefit. They are special payments which come from a separate fund. Once the fund has been spent in any financial year no more Discretionary Housing Payments can be made. For all applications relating to the Discretionary Housing Payment element of this scheme we will consider things like:

  • the amount you get in housing benefit and the amount of rent you have to pay
  • any efforts you have made to reduce your rent
  • the financial and medical circumstances of you and anyone who lives with you
  • whether you are a foster carer or going through the approval process to be a foster carer or adoptive parent
  • the income and expenditure of you and anyone who lives with you
  • your savings investments and any held by anyone else living with you
  • any debts owed by you or anyone else who lives with you
  • if you have any exceptional circumstances
  • the amount of money we have available in the fund when we consider your application
  • whether you have accessed support from another Council discretionary fund or short-term funding from the Department for Work and Pensions or other organisations
  • any other special situations.

Each application is treated on its own merits however some groups may be given priority for certain awards. For example, the following groups will be treated as a priority for the DHP element of this scheme:

  • Foster carers
  • Households where substantial disabled adaptations have been undertaken to meet the disability needs of a household member
  • Households with a child who is unable to share a bedroom due to disability and where the following applies:
    • there is a claim for child DLA care component at the middle or highest rate in payment
    • There is no entitlement to DLA care component at the middle or highest rate but the child has a disability that may be particularly disruptive.

Council Tax Hardship Payment Element

Council Tax Hardship payments are a way of helping you if the Council Tax support you get is not enough to pay your Council Tax bill. Our benefits section is responsible for the scheme and will decide whether or not you can get extra help.

Council Tax Hardship payments are not the same as Council Tax support. They are special payments which come from a separate fund.

For all applications relating to the Council Tax Hardship element of this scheme we will consider things like:

  • Whether you now have more Council Tax to pay as a result of the change from Council Tax Benefit to Council Tax Support. You must be able to show us that you are in financial hardship or that you have exceptional personal circumstances.
  • Whether you now have more Council Tax to pay as a result of a reduced Council Tax discount or exemption because of the Council Tax technical reforms. You must be able to show us that you are in financial hardship or that you have exceptional personal circumstances.

Local Assistance Element

The Local Assistance Scheme helps people on certain benefits in an emergency or crisis. The scheme can help people who need food, utility top ups, and in certain situations, it can help with goods for the home.

For all applications relating to the Local Assistance element of this scheme we will consider things like:

  • What type of benefits you receive
  • Whether you have lived in Derby for three of the last twelve months or three of the last five years
  • Whether you are suffering an immediate crisis or exceptional emergency situation

How much will an award be from the Single Discretionary Award Scheme?

Discretionary Housing Payment Element

We will tell you how much we have awarded and the period we have given it to you for.

You may not get as much as you need to pay your full rent or the award may not be for as long as you would like.

The Discretionary Housing Payment Fund is usually meant to help with short term emergencies. If you get an award there is no guarantee that another award will be made at a later date even if your circumstances have not changed.

If you are refused an award because of funding and your circumstances have not changed, you can apply again in the new financial year which runs from 1st April to 31st March. This will not guarantee an award as your claim will still have to go through the decision making process. 

Council Tax Hardship Payment Element

We will tell you how much we have awarded and the period we have given it to you for. Any award we make is put against your Council Tax account to reduce the balance you have to pay.

You may not get as much as you need to pay your full Council Tax or the award may not be for as long as you would like. The award may be subject to variation as any Council Tax support changes are applied.

If you get an award there is no guarantee that another award will be made at a later date even if your circumstances have not changed.

If you are refused an award because of funding and your circumstances have not changed, you can apply again in the new financial year which runs from 1st April to 31st March. This will not guarantee an award as your claim will still have to go through the decision making process. 

Local Assistance Element

This is a cashless element of the scheme. You will be told within one working day if you are eligible to receive an award. If you are eligible we can top up gas and electricity meters and provide vouchers for a local food bank.

If you are successful for local assistance it is important that you present with the requested documentation within 48 hours. Level of need is assessed at the time of the application therefore failure to produce the correct documents within this time frame will mean your application will expire. If you have failed to produce documentation in the time frame but are still in need, you will need to apply again so that your application can be reassessed. 

If you are eligible for an award of goods for your home, you will be told what goods we can provide and how you will receive them. 

Once you submit your application you will receive a call within one working day to let you know if you have been successful or not.

If you are successful, during your phone call a member of the welfare reform team will make an appointment for you to collect your award and assess your other needs. When collecting awards, you must bring with you, one of the following forms of identification, along with another other documents requested by the team:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • National Insurance card
  • Driving licence
  • UK residence permit
  • Armed Forces ID card
  • EU identity card
  • Immigration documents
  • University ID

How do I apply to the Single Discretionary Award Scheme?

You will need to complete the Single Discretionary Award Application form (opens in new window). 

When we get your application form, we will contact you within one working day to give you any decision relating to utilities or food vouchers. The Discretionary Housing Payment and Council Tax Hardship elements of this service will take longer to process, if we need anymore information we will write to you.

Don't worry if you don't have internet access, we provide Internet access points at the Council House. We also have a range of reasonable adjustments for disabled people to apply, so please contact us and tell us what works best for you. 

How can I ask for a review of my Single Discretionary Award decision?

If you don't agree with your Single Discretionary Award decision, you must ask for a review within seven days of the date of any decision notice by completing the request a review of your Single Discretionary Award form.

Once you have submitted your review, we will contact you to inform you of the outcome of your review. If you have applied for the Local Assistant element of the scheme, we may need further information to help us fully assess your application. If we are unable to contact you within 48 hours of the submission of your review, your application will expire. If your review request expires, we will inform you in writing and advise that if you are still in need, you will need to apply again so that your application can be reassessed.

Useful forms

Downloads

Contact details

Email:
Post address:
Derby Benefits
Customer Service Centre
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 640444
Minicom: 01332 640666
Derby Benefits
Customer Service Centre
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS