Majority Undecided Regarding New Mortgage Support in Form of Loans

Figures show that many people who were contacted regarding the significant changes to their mortgage support are yet to make up their minds about what they should do – with only a couple of weeks to go.

From the 6th of April, support for mortgage interest (SMI) will end from being a benefit to becoming a loan instead.

SMI helps in protecting the people in receipt of certain benefits from having their houses repossessed, through contributing towards the interest payments on the mortgage of the claimant.

Finance experts have requested for the said change to be delayed in order to give people more time to come up with an informed decision.

The figures that were released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal as at the 21st of March, it has sent a letter regarding the new SMI loans scheme and tried to make a follow-up phone call to 95 percent of the SMI claimants.

Those who are not yet contacted include some of the people who have only very recently claimed SMI, those where the DWP has no record of a legitimate telephone number and some cases where the SMI claimant has designated someone else to look after their interests.

More than half (51 percent) of the claimants who talked about their intention with the DWP in a follow-up telephone conversation said that they would refuse the offer of an SMI loan.

Meanwhile, a quarter (25 percent) are still undecided and only under one quarter (24 percent) said that they would accept the loan.

A personal finance specialist at Royal London, Helen Morrissey, stated: “With just two weeks to go many thousands of people risk losing vital mortgage support.

“Government must reconsider its approach and delay the implementation of this change to make sure people get the support they need to make an informed decision.”

Figures that were contained within the Economic and Fiscal Outlook of the Office for Budget Responsibility were recently highlighted by Royal London.  The figures said that approximately 10,000 claimants had so far agreed to take up the said loan – as compared with a figure of 100,000 which had been anticipated by the end of 2018/2019.

The document of the DWP said that claimants who refuse the SMI loan may change their mind and can have the SMI payments backdated to the 6th of April – the date when the said loan scheme will be offered.