Over 12,000 households claim mortgage interest help from Government
In the three months to August 2022, there were 12,444 SMI loans in payment, according to the latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a loan to help pay the interest on a mortgage or other home loans. It helps pay interest on up to £200,000 of your loan or mortgage subject to certain conditions such as being in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
This includes Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
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 interest rate used to calculate SMI is 2.09% and the interest added to the loan is 1.4%.
The DWP statistics reveal the majority of recipients were in the North West at 1,841, followed by South East at 1,448 and London at 1,376.
The total amount of SMI loans in payment is slightly down on the previous quarter, which came to 12,845.
It is also down on the same periods from 2019 to 2021, which came to 16,280, 15,249 and 14,184 respectively. Before the SMI benefit to loan change, around 100,000 homeowners were entitled to the support.
The DWP figures revealed that the SMI loan cumulative caseload, which shows the number of households who have received an SMI loan since April 2018 (when SMI became a loan) to the end of the reporting quarter, was 24,048.
The number has been steadily growing over the past few years, going from 19,881 for the same period in 2019 to 21,936 in 2020.
It hit 22,829 in the same quarter in 2021.
In the Autumn Budget Chancellor Jeremy Hunt cut the wait period for SMI from nine months to three months in a bid to support mortgage borrowers.
He also abolished the zero earnings rule so claimants can receive support while in work and on Universal Credit.
At the time, Hunt said that the measures would come into force in the Spring of this year.