Date of Screening: 03/05/2023
Screening Outcome - Full EQIA recommended: No
The primary purpose of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is to protect owner-occupiers receiving an income-related benefit from the threat of repossession. In April 2018, SMI changed from a benefit to an interest bearing loan. The loan is only recoverable from any equity on the sale, transfer of ownership of the property or when the claimant dies. If there is insufficient equity to repay the total of the loan, the Department will write off any amount that cannot be repaid.
These proposed Regulations will provide for the reduction of the qualifying period, removing the zero earnings rule, introducing a re-claim rule and allowing mixed-age couples to retain their eligibility to SMI. They will provide better and quicker support for homeowners and are intended to help prevent a rise in repossessions and build-up of arrears whilst incentivising work for those needing to claim SMI.