Support for Mortgage Interest

If you're a homeowner and get certain income-related benefits, you may be able to get help towards mortgage interest payments. This is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). SMI is a loan, which you’ll need to repay with interest when you sell or transfer ownership of your property.

About Support for Mortgage Interest

SMI is sometimes known as ‘help with housing costs'. It can help towards mortgage interest payments:

  • for a mortgage
  • for a loan to buy
  • to improve your home

It cannot help you pay:

  • the amount you borrowed (only the interest on the mortgage is paid)
  • insurance policies
  • mortgage arrears

SMI is normally paid directly to your lender. There’s no guarantee you will get SMI for a loan you take out.

Eligibility

You may be eligible for SMI if you are a homeowner and get one of the following benefits:

You can get a loan:

  • from the date you start getting Pension Credit
  • after you have been getting Universal Credit for nine consecutive months
  • after you have claimed any other qualifying benefit for 39 consecutive weeks

You might still be able to get SMI if you apply for one of the qualifying benefits but can’t get it because your income is too high. In this case you will be treated as getting the benefit you applied for.

What you’ll get

If you are eligible, you’ll get help paying the interest on up to £200,000 of your loan or mortgage. This figure is £100,000 if:

  • you get Pension Credit
  • you started claiming another qualifying benefit before January 2009

If you already get SMI and move to Pension Credit within 12 weeks of stopping your other benefits, you’ll still get help with interest on up to £200,000.

The interest rate used to calculate how much SMI you will get is currently 2.61 per cent. If you have a lower interest rate than this, you will receive more SMI than is needed to meet your payments. These payments can only be credited to your mortgage account.

How to apply 

If you are receiving a benefit other than Universal Credit, you can apply by downloading and completing the following claim form: 

To check if you can get an SMI loan and for queries, contact your local Jobs and Benefits office, Employment and Support Allowance Centre or the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

    Free advice is also available from:

    If you claim Universal Credit, you can indicate that you would like to apply for SMI while making your online claim to Universal Credit.

    Repaying your loan

    You’ll need to repay your SMI loan with interest when you sell or transfer ownership of your property.

    The current rate of interest is 1.3 per cent.   This rate can go up or down but it won’t change more than twice a year and you will be told if it’s going to change.

    If there isn’t enough money from the sale of your home to repay the SMI loan in full, the rest of the loan will be written off and you won’t have to repay it.

    Voluntary repayments

    If you want to repay the loan more quickly, you can make voluntary repayments. The minimum voluntary repayment is £100 or the outstanding balance if it’s less than £100.

    How to repay

    Contact the Department for Communities Loan Management for a settlement letter. This will tell you how much you need to pay.

    You can pay:

    • online - using the bank account details in your settlement letter
    • by telephone - you’ll need your bank, building society or card details and your settlement letter

        Other financial help with housing costs

        You can still get financial help with your housing costs if your Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance is going to stop because you are about to:

        • return to work full-time
        • work more hours
        • earn more money

        This is called the Mortgage Interest Run On. Find out if you qualify at the following page:

         

          Share this page

          What do you want to do?
          What is your question about?
          Do you want a reply?
          Your email address
          To reply to you, we need your email address
          Your feedback

          We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

          This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

          You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

          If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

          You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

          The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

          Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

          Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
          Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

          What to do next

          Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

          What to do next

          If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

          Carer's Allowance

          Call 0800 587 0912
          Email 
          dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

          Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

          Call 0800 587 2750 
          Email 
          customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

          Disability Living Allowance

          Call 0800 587 0912 
          Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

          Employment and Support Allowance

          Call 0800 587 1377

          Jobseeker’s Allowance

          Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

          Personal Independence Payment

          Call 0800 587 0932

          If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

          What to do next

          Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

          What to do next

          Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

          What to do next

          For queries about:

          If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

          What to do next

          If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

          If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

          What to do next

          For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.