The Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme is a government program that provides support to help people cover the cost of mortgage interest payments or home repairs and improvements while receiving Universal Credit.
Claimants who qualify for the program can receive a loan worth up to £200,000 after three months of being on Universal Credit, regardless of their employment status.
The loan is designed to provide financial stability to claimants who are seeking work and trying to move towards long-term prosperity.
The loan needs to be repaid when claimants sell their home, but no one will be required to sell their home to repay it.
If needed, claimants can contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about transferring the loan to a new home.
To qualify for the Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme, claimants must receive one of the following qualifying benefits: Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Pension Credit.
The expansion of the Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme to an additional 200,000 Universal Credit claimants is a significant development in the UK government’s efforts to support households with the cost of living.
Previously, claimants needed to be unemployed for nine months before accessing the scheme, which presented a significant barrier for people who were struggling financially but still employed.
By reducing the waiting period to three months and removing the requirement for unemployment, the government is making it easier for more people to access the support they need to keep their homes.
In addition to the Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme, the UK government has allocated significant resources to support households with the cost of living. The Affordable Homes Programme, worth £11.5 billion, is delivering more affordable homes across the country, including tens of thousands for social rent.
The government has also provided over £1.5 billion for Discretionary Housing Payments since 2012, while Local Housing Allowance rates were increased above inflation during the pandemic and have been maintained since to provide housing support to Universal Credit claimants.
The Household Support Fund is another government initiative designed to help the most vulnerable with the cost of food and energy essentials.
Worth over £2 billion in its lifetime, the fund has been extended for another year, providing additional support to households struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, the government is directly paying £301 to over 8 million people on means-tested benefits from 25 April to help with the cost of living.
Further payments worth £300 and £299 will be made later in the financial year, while additional payments of £300 for pensioners and £150 for disabled people will also be made in 2023, meaning some people will receive up to £1,350 in direct government support.
Despite the government’s efforts to support households with the cost of living, many people still struggle to make ends meet. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy, causing many people to lose their jobs or experience reduced income.
As a result, there has been an increase in demand for financial support programs like the Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme. While the expansion of the scheme is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to address the root causes of poverty and inequality in the UK.
This includes investing in education and training programs to help people acquire the skills they need to secure well-paying jobs, as well as improving access to affordable housing and healthcare.