Support for Mortgage Interest
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is available to support you with the interest payments on your mortgage – it does not help you pay towards any capital repayments - and is paid by a repayable loan, with interest and administration charges added on top.
How to claim Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
You can claim SMI if you live in a mortgaged property and claim:
- Income-related Employment Support Allowance,
- Income Support,
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- Pension credits.
Universal Credit (UC) will include extra payments to meet mortgage interest costs if you are not working and you live in a UC area. This support will also be paid as a loan from 6 April 2018.
You will have to wait nine consecutive months - 39 weeks - after you apply for SMI to get your first payment and the DWP will pay your mortgage lender – there is no waiting time if you are claiming pension credit.
SMI will only help with the interest portion of a mortgage up to the value of £200,000 and you will only be able to claim up to £100,000 if you get pension credits. SMI will not help pay back the amount you borrowed.
The rate that SMI is paid at is based on the Bank of England’s standard interest rate – in July 2017, the Bank of England set this rate at 2.61%. You can find out how much the rate is at any time by checking the Support for Mortgage Interest website.
You will have to wait nine consecutive months - 39 weeks - after you apply for SMI to get your first payment and the DWP will pay your mortgage lender – there is no waiting time if you are claiming pension credit
Can I claim Support for Mortgage Interest if I don’t have an interest-only mortgage?
To claim SMI 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 make sure that you do not go into arrears.
- Come to an arrangement with your lender such as switching to an interest-only mortgage.
How long can I claim Support for Mortgage Interest?
Prior to the change on April 6, 2018, SMI was paid as an amount in your benefits, rather than a loan.
You could claim these payments for up to two years if you received income-related job seekers allowance and started the claim after 4 January 2009.
How will the April 2018 changes to SMI affect me?
Since 6, April 2018 SMI has changed to a repayable loan, with interest and administration charges added on top.
This will affect both new and existing claimants and will no longer have a time limit on how long you can claim Support for Mortgage Interest.
When will I start repaying my Support for Mortgage Interest?
The SMI loan will be repaid when you return to work, 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 and you will usually continue to 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.
- How do I check what I’m entitled to?
- Universal Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Working Tax Credits
- Personal Independence Payment
- Housing Benefit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Council Tax: Exemptions and Support to pay
- Social Fund
- Next steps