When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Help to pay your mortgage or secured loan

You cannot get benefits to help pay your mortgage. The only help available is a loan that can cover some of the interest you pay on your mortgage. This loan is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). 

Can you apply for help to pay your mortgage?

You can only get Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) if you are a homeowner and

  • you have a mortgage or a secured loan, and
  • you are receiving Universal Credit and have no earnings or
  • you are receiving one of these benefits
    • income-related Jobseeker's Allowance
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Pension Credit

When will you start to get help with your mortgage?

You have to wait 9 months, or 39 weeks, from when you start to receive the above benefits before you can get apply for SMI. 

You can get the loan immediately if you get Pension Credit.

How much help will you get to pay your mortgage?

There is no fixed amount of help. The amount you get depends on how much you owe on your mortgage or secured loan. It may not cover the amount you have to pay to your lenders.

Get advice if you can't pay your full loans every month. 

How do you apply for help to pay your mortgage?

You have to complete a form, called Form MI12,  to get this help. This form should be sent to you about 7 months after you start claiming benefits. You should get it straight away if you are claiming Pension Credit.

If you do not get the form automatically, talk to 

What happens after you complete your form?

A company will write to you to tell you more about the application process. 

SMI is a loan and you will have to pay it back. You will also have to pay back interest. You have to decide whether you want to take out the loan or not. 

Speak to our advisers if you have any questions about Support for Mortgage Interest.

How does the interest on the SMI loan work?

You have to pay interest on your SMI payments. The current interest rate is 3.03%, but can go up or down. The interest is added to the full amount you owe. 

When do you have to pay your support for mortgage interest loan back?

You do not have to make regular payments towards the loan. But, you'll have to pay back the loan and interest if you:

  • sell your home or transfer it to someone else, and
  • you do not buy another property.

If you sell your home and buy another property, you can move the loan from one property to another. 

You do not have to pay your loan back if your home sells for less than is owed on it. This can happen if the amount owed on your mortgage or other loans is more than the value of your home. 

You can make voluntary payments to clear your loan. These must be at least £100 each time.

Get advice if you're worried about your mortgage or want to know more about help to pay it. 

Other benefits to help homeowners

You may be able to get help to pay 

  • some services charges on your home
  • your rates bill
  • your rent if you own part of your home and rent part of your home.

Contact our advisers to find out more about benefits to help with your housing costs.