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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Getting help to pay your mortgage (SMI)

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.  

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 interest rate is 0.9%, but can go up or down. 

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 will have to pay back the loan and interest when you sell the property or transfer it to someone else. 

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

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 get advice about your mortgage from our confidential and friendly advisers.