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Worried about money?

We're here to help. Use our free online debt advice tool.

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Government help with mortgage payments. How does it work?

The government can help with mortgage interest payments if you are on a low income.

household bills iconWorried about money and your mortgage?

Maybe it is a strain to keep on top of monthly spending. Or you don't know what to do when your fixed rate mortgage ends.

Together, we can look at your situation and unlock your options.

Read our homeowner guides.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments

SMI can help with the cost of mortgage interest payments.

It is a form of a loan secured against your property.

To be eligible for SMI you need to receive one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Pension credit

SMI payments start:

  • Straight away if you claim Pension Credit
  • 3 months after you start claiming Universal Credit
    • This needs to be 3 months of running payments
    • Any break in this could impact getting SMI
  • 39 weeks after you claim any other benefit
    • This needs to be 39 weeks of running benefit payments
    • Any break in this could impact getting SMI
    • Arrears build up if you cannot pay in those first 39 weeks
    • You will need to repay those arrears

SMI only pays the interest on your mortgage

  • It does not go towards the capital
  • It cannot go towards arrears

Ask your lender to change you to an interest-only mortgage during this time.

Find out more at Gov.uk.

Is your home at risk?

Free legal support is available.

The government's Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service can advise you on:

  • Illegal eviction
  • Rent arrears
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Issues with welfare benefits payments
  • Debt concerns
  • Disrepair and other problems with housing conditions

Find out more here.

How can the SMI loan affect my debt repayments?

Debt repayment plans and token payment plans

SMI, as a loan, will not affect your plan.

IVAs and Trust Deeds

Discuss the SMI loan with:

  • Your provider or
  • Your insolvency practitioner


The SMI loan is regarded as a secured debt.

If you are going bankrupt:

  • The loan can be paid back as soon as the order is made
  • You repay DWP from the money made if your trustee sells your property

How the SMI loan works

  • Payments to your lender continue at the same rate as before
  • Payments are a loan from the Department for Work and Pensions
  • The loan is secured against your property
    • The loan amount secured against your home increases each month
    • This reduces your equity
  • You do not have to repay any of the loan until you:
    • Sell the house or
    • Pass away
    • Whatever cannot be paid back from your equity is written off
  • The interest rate on the loan is lower than commercial secured lending
  • The interest rate on the loan is legally required to stay low in future

Free help and advice

Use our online debt advice tool to find out if you qualify for this scheme and for help applying.