Help with mortgage interest payments

Support for Mortgage Interest is now paid as a loan. Find out if you can apply.

Changes to Support for Mortgage Interest

Support for mortgage interest payments as a benefit ended on 5 April 2018 and was replaced by a loan. 

Although this can help to pay the interest on your mortgage, you will be charged interest on the loan and you will need to repay the loan if you sell or transfer ownership of the property. If you decide to move house you can ask to transfer the loan to your new home.

Who can get help with Support for Mortgage Interest?

You can only apply if you own your home and you get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support

  • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Pension Credit (appropriate minimum guarantee)

  • Universal Credit - but not if you are: working or self employed or if you also get Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay or Statutory Shared Parental Pay

What costs can I get help with?

Support for Mortgage Interest can help you pay all or part of the interest on your mortgage payments. It won't help you pay off the capital of your mortgage.

You may also be able to get payments to help pay the interest on loans you took out for essential repairs or improvements to your home (for example for insulation, repairing dangerous faults or adapting your home if you are ill or disabled, or someone in your family is) or to buy your ex-partner's share in your home if you have separated. Again, you won't get help to pay off the loans themselves.

Restrictions

The following restrictions apply:

  • In most cases you can only claim support for mortgage interest on loans of up to £200,000. If you get Pension Credit or were already receiving support for mortgage interest before 5 January 2009, you can only claim for interest on loans on £100,000

  • If your mortgage amount is for more than these amounts then you will need to pay any additional interest yourself

  • If you got your mortgage after you started claiming benefits, you may not be eligible

  • The interest payments you receive are calculated with reference to the Bank of England base rate and this rate can go up or down. The rate may not be the same as the interest rate you are paying. If you are paying a higher rate of interest, you will have to make up the difference yourself.

You can't get any money to cover the capital you originally borrowed, or any investment that is linked to your mortgage (such as an endowment policy, pension or ISA). You can ask your lender for a statement of your mortgage costs, and how much of what you pay is interest.

How to claim

When you apply for eligible benefits you will usually be asked if you want to apply. If you're already getting benefits you will need to contact the relevant office that deals with your claim.

You can find more information about applying on the Gov.uk - Support for Mortgage Interest pages.

Waiting period

Unless you are getting Pension Credit there is a waiting period. This means you are won't be able to get any payment until you have been getting benefits for 39 weeks (or 9 months if you are on Universal Credit).

If you are getting Pension Credit you can get the loan straight away -there is no waiting period.

How is it paid?

Payments to help with mortgage interest are usually paid directly to your lender at the end of every four weeks. This is the case even if your mortgage payments are due on a monthly basis, so you may appear to be behind with payments.

If you are separated and it is possible for you to receive some help with mortgage payments from your ex-partner, you will need to get advice as to how these payments are to be made. They may affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to.

Paying back the loan

You won't be asked to sell your home in order to repay your loan.

If you decide to sell or transfer ownership of your home then you may need to repay the loan with interest.

You’ll pay back the loan from what’s left after the mortgage (and any home improvement loans) have been paid. If there is not enough to pay some or all of the loan, you'll not have to pay it back and it’ll be written off.

Moving house

You may be able to transfer the loan to your new home. Contact DWP Loan Management as soon as you know you intend to move, and before you complete your sale.

You’ll need to give DWP Loan Management your solicitor’s contact details. They will work with your solicitor to arrange for the loan to be moved to your new home.

You can find contact details for DWP Loan Management on the Gov.uk website.

Domestic violence

If you need to flee your home due to fear of domestic violence you may be able to continue receiving help through Support for Mortgage Interest (and get help with housing costs for your temporary housing) for up to 12 months.

For more information on this contact a specialist organisation - get help if you're experiencing domestic abuse.

Reporting change of circumstances

If your circumstances change, for example if anyone moves in or out of your home or if your income increases or decreases you need to let the DWP know about the change. Try to get advice before any changes happen to find out how the change might affect you.

Mortgage Interest run on

If your situation changes and you are no longer eligible to claim benefits, you can get an extra four weeks of money to help pay your housing costs. This is called mortgage interest run on (MIRO). You can find out more about MIRO at Gov.uk.

Shared ownership

if you bought your home through a shared ownership scheme, you may also be able to get help pay the rent on the share you do not own.

Further advice

Check if you're entitled to benefits

Turn to Us has an online benefit calculator. You can use this to check if you are entitled to any extra money. It can be useful to have information with you about any money you have coming into your household already and what your monthly rent payments are before you use this tool.

Citizens Advice Scotland and Money Advice Scotland can provide money advice and welfare benefit checks and other financial support information.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 15 March 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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