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Help with mortgage costs if you are not working

This advice applies to Scotland

This information applies to Scotland only

Help with mortgage costs if you're not working

If you're struggling to pay your mortgage because you're not working, you must take action quickly to stop yourself from falling into debt.

If you get into debt and your lender thinks you’re not dealing with the problem, they could take action through the courts. This could lead to you losing your home. Remember it is never too late to negotiate with your lender. If you have lost your job your circumstances have changed and the lender should take this into account.

When you're not working, you may be able to get certain benefits which give help towards your mortgage costs.

On this page we tell you:

If you've already fallen into debt with your mortgage payments, there may be things you can do to stop yourself from falling further behind with your payments and to clear the debt. See How to sort out your mortgage problems.

If you’re having serious difficulties paying your mortgage, for example, if you’ve started getting letters from your mortgage lender threatening court action, you should get help from an experienced debt adviser.

You can get debt advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Which benefits give help towards mortgage costs

The following benefits can give you some help towards your mortgage costs:

  • Income Support. This is help for lone parents or carers
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). This is help for people who are looking for work
  • Pension Credit. This is help for people who are over 60 and on a low income
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This is help for people who are too sick or disabled to work.
  • Universal Credit. There is a housing costs element to Universal Credit but the rules are that these costs can be limited and are likely to be less than what you have to pay for your mortgage. It may be helpful to get advice about what you are entitled to. You can get advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

For more information about whether you may be entitled to one of these benefits and how to make a claim, see the following pages:

Help for people on a low income – Income Support
Benefits for people looking for work
Benefits for older people
Benefits for people who are sick or disabled

How much of your mortgage costs can be paid

When you make a claim for one of the benefits mentioned on this page you will be told whether you can get help towards your mortgage costs. This help is known as housing costs payments.

Housing costs payments contribute towards the cost of the interest payments on your mortgage. They may also contribute towards the interest payments on loans taken out to pay for repairs or home improvements. Housing costs payments can't be used to pay off any of the capital of your mortgage.

Help with paying mortgage interest was a benefit paid before 5 April 2018. From 6 April 2018 this was changed to only being available as a loan called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) from the government. If you were receiving the benefit to help to pay mortgage interest you will have received a letter giving you some details about what to do. 

More about Support for Mortgage Interest loan

Housing costs are paid at a standard rate of interest, regardless of the rate of interest you are actually paying.

This means that although there can be cases where housing costs payments are higher than the interest you have to pay, in many cases, the payments will be lower. You will have to make up any difference between the interest due to the lender and the amount of interest covered by the housing costs payments. However, if you can't afford to make up the difference, it might be worth asking your lender if they will just accept the housing costs payments for the time being until you can make up the full amount at a later date.

For more information about how to deal with your mortgage lender, see Dealing with your mortgage lender.

You might want to get an experienced debt adviser to help you deal with your mortgage lender. You can get help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Can you get your mortgage costs paid straight away

When you make a claim for benefits you will usually have to wait 13 weeks before housing costs are paid. However, if you're over 60, there is no waiting period and you can get housing costs payments straight away.

Help to protect you from losing your home

If you aren't entitled to any of the benefits which give help towards your mortgage costs, other help might be available. This includes a number of schemes that are maybe eligible to apply to save you from losing your home. See Schemes to provide support to homeowners in danger of losing their homes.

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