Minister announces new transfer option for mortgage interest support
Previously disabled people and others receiving an SMI loan were required to repay the balance once a property was sold or transferred. They would then need to reapply for the loan on their new property.
However, the minister for family support, housing and child maintenance Will Quince has confirmed that anyone with an SMI loan secured against their property will now be able to request their loan balance to be transferred to their new home when they move.
SMI is the help offered by the government to owner-occupiers in receipt of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
The money helps homeowners unable to work or find work pay the interest on their mortgage, saving their homes from repossession and avoiding the additional cost to the taxpayer that would be incurred in the event of homelessness.
In April 2018 the government changed SMI from a benefit to a loan repayable in full, with interest, when claimants die or sell their home.
The policy shift will ensure those looking to move home to secure better employment will not face barriers to progressing in work. The change will have a particular benefit for those who move into a new property due to a disability or health condition, as they will continue to receive uninterrupted support towards their mortgage payments.
Quince said: “This measure helps some of the most vulnerable people to stay in their homes and live independently. And we are now making it easier for people to keep this support, even when moving house.”