Support for Mortgage Interest
Support for Mortgage Interest can help if you own your own home but find it difficult to pay your mortgage because of your mental health condition.
What is Support for Mortgage Interest?
Support for Mortgage Interest is a loan you might be able to claim from the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP).
What does Support for Mortgage Interest do?
Support for Mortgage Interest helps pay the mortgage interest payments on your home. This can be useful if your mental health condition has made it harder to work and earn money.
When you sell your house or transfer ownership of your property to another person, you will have to pay the loan back to the DWP.
You should seek advice from a welfare benefits adviser before applying for Support for Mortgage Interest.
How do I know if I am eligible for Support for Mortgage Interest?
You might be able to apply for Support for Mortgage Interest if you meet the following criteria:
- You own your own home or,
- You are in a shared ownership scheme – this means you pay for a share of the house you live in (e.g. you might pay 75% towards the mortgage and 25% as rent)
You are already receiving one of the following qualifying benefits:
- Pension Credit.
- Universal Credit.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – Income-related.
- Income Support – you can no longer make new claims on this.
- New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
The rules for Support for Mortgage Interest can be complex, so you should seek advice from a welfare benefits adviser before applying.
You can also contact the benefits office that pays your existing benefit to find out if you can get a Support for Mortgage Interest loan.
How do I apply for Support for Mortgage Interest?
When you apply for a qualifying benefit
When you apply for one of the qualifying benefits, you will be asked questions about your housing costs.
You might also be asked to fill out an extra form for more information.
The DWP will then decide if you qualify for a loan and offer it when they have processed your benefit claim.
If you already receive a qualifying benefit
You can contact the benefits office that pays your benefit. They should be able to tell you if you can get a Support for Mortgage Interest loan.
How much money do I get for Support for Mortgage Interest?
The DWP can help you pay the interest of your mortgage on up to £200,000 of the mortgage loan.
Different Support for Mortgage Interest payments for Pension Credit
The DWP will only help you pay the interest of your mortgage on up to £100,000 of the mortgage loan if :
- You receive Pension Credit or,
- You began claiming a qualifying benefit before January 2009 and were below the State Pension age at that time.
When do I start getting Support for Mortgage Interest payments?
If the DWP accepts your Support for Mortgage Interest application, you receive payments based on when you receive your qualifying benefit. If you receive:
You will receive Support for Mortgage Interest payments straight away. Support for Mortgage Interest payments may also be backdated to when you first started getting pension credit.
Income-related ESA, Income-based JSA, Income Support
You will receive Support for Mortgage Interest payments after you have received ESA for 39 weeks in a row (approximately nine months).
You will receive Support for Mortgage Interest payments after you have received Universal Credit for nine months in a row, but this depends on other things.
Universal Credit (UC) and Support for Mortgage Interest
If you are getting Universal Credit, you cannot get Support for Mortgage Interest if you also receive:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
- Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).
- Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).
- Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
- Earnings from your job if you are employed or self-employed.
- A tax refund.
Case Study: How a welfare benefits adviser helped Richard get a Support for Mortgage Interest loan
Richard was diagnosed with Schizophrenia by a psychiatrist following a full psychiatric assessment.
He has been experiencing positive symptoms, including disorganised thinking, seeing things that other people can’t and hearing someone shouting in his head.
Richard works as a financial adviser for a city bank. Currently, his mental health condition is affecting his ability to work.
He has taken time off and received both company and statutory sick pay whilst he was undergoing treatment.
Unfortunately, Richard’s Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has now run out. His company is expecting him to come back to work.
Richard is worried as he knows he cannot work now. Because of this, Richard will not earn enough money to cover payments on the interest-only mortgage for the house he owns.
He is frightened of losing his home, so he contacts a welfare benefits adviser.
The welfare benefits adviser looks at Richard’s situation and believes Richard can apply for Universal Credit to help support him whilst he continues his treatment.
The adviser helps Richard fill out the application forms and makes sure Richard mentions his mental health condition and living situation so that the DWP know everything about Richard’s circumstances.
Richard sends his UC application off to the local benefits office, and the DWP approves his application.
The DWP also asked Richard if he would be interested in getting a Support for Mortgage Interest loan for help with his mortgage payments.
However, the DWP reminds Richard that he will not receive any Support for Mortgage Interest payments until he has received nine consecutive months of Universal Credit payments.
Richard agrees to receive Universal Credit now and start getting Support for Mortgage Interest payments after nine months.
Can I claim Support for Mortgage Interest if I don’t have an interest-only mortgage?
To claim Support for Mortgage Interest payments, if you do not have an interest-only mortgage, you will need to either:
- Pay the remainder of your mortgage payments each month to ensure that you do not go into arrears.
- Arrange with your lender, such as switching to an interest-only mortgage.
Contact Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service to apply for Support for Mortgage Interest or seek further information.
When will I start repaying my Support for Mortgage Interest?
The Support for Mortgage Interest loan will be repaid when you sell your property or will be recovered from your estate when you pass away. There is also an option to make voluntary repayments of over £100 at any time.
If you return to work, you may be able to receive financial help from the Mortgage Interest Run On scheme (MIRO). This may be available to you if your benefits are stopped because you work more hours or earn more money and applies to the following benefits:
- Income Support.
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
You can claim MIRO for four weeks. You will usually receive the same amount as you were getting from Support for Mortgage Interest – Payments for your mortgage or loan interest will be paid directly to you instead of to your lender.
Things to remember about Support for Mortgage Interest
- Support for Mortgage Interest is a loan – you will have to pay it back with interest when you sell or transfer your homeownership.
- You will need to be receiving a qualifying benefit before you can apply for Support for Mortgage Interest.
- Support for Mortgage Interest will only cover the interest payments of your mortgage. Support for Mortgage Interest cannot help you pay the amount you borrowed from the bank to pay for your home.
- Support for Mortgage Interest cannot help you pay for any missed mortgage payments – called ‘mortgage arrears.’
- Support for Mortgage Interest cannot help you pay for any insurance policies on your home – e.g. home insurance contents insurance.
- You may be able to move Support for Mortgage Interest to another property – you will need to contact the DWP loan management team for advice on this.
- You may not receive Support for Mortgage Interest even if you are eligible for it.
You should always seek advice from a welfare benefits adviser if you are considering applying for Support for Mortgage Interest.
- Welfare Benefits for Mental Health
- Personal Independence Payment
- Universal Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Council tax: Exemptions and discounts
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Housing Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Working Tax Credits
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Attendance Allowance
- Cold Weather Payment
- Income Support
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Social Fund