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(SMI) Support for Mortgage Interest ending

sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
Another brown envelope arrived yesterday from DWP, I thought it might be about my MR decision. No it was just another kick in the teeth to tell me that the little bit of help I had received with my mortgage interest will be ending.
I have a small interest only mortgage and was hoping to pay off some of the capital before the term ends but in the last month my PIP entitlement has been cancelled and my ESA is under review and more than likely will be stopped soon because I was too ill to attend that pointless charade they like to call a "medical assessment".

Does anyone else know anything about this (SMI) ending for everyone?

I have done a little bit of research and there is a petition atm online if anyone would like to sign it and leave a comment. http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-changes-to-support-for-mortgage-interest-smi 

Tip:  You don't have to leave a comment you can just sign the petition, but if you want to leave a comment don't do what I did and write an essay because it only allows you to send 500 letters (not sure if that includes spaces), shame I had to keep going over mine and cut some good bits out.

Sorry if this has been debated already, could not see anything on Scope about it, still getting used to the site.

ATB Rosie


  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 2,398Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • Blue FrogBlue Frog Posts: 373Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Yes it’s the latest part of the austerity measures. It was sneakily announced when there was lots of other (bad) news so it didn’t get much media coverage. I think they are turning it into a loan instead. I am eternally grateful our mortgage has finished just in time, CR has posted some info above about the new scheme. Hope it doesn’t affect you too much x 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    edited January 22

    Hi Rosie,

    Yeah, I agree with @Blue Frog that this has flown in somewhat under the radar, and I also agree with you that it is a real kick in the teeth for many claimants, who now face having to choose between the DWP putting a charge on their property, or finding the extra money to pay the mortgage interest.

    Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you!

    Best Wishes,


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    hi yes, i have a small mortgage,  i will have to find £60.00 a month, this goverment are so sly i dont trust them, there is no way i am going to sign my house for a loan, once you have done that they can change the rules,look what they done to the collage grants.now over 6%
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi nanof6 - I agree with everyone above about the new loan arrangements which are going to cause widespread problems. I just wanted to go back to what you said in your post about your PIP ending and your ESA being under review. I'm sure you're already aware of your right to request a mandatory reconsideration and then to appeal against a decision to end your PIP. If you were too unwell to attend your ESA assessment then it's important to let DWP / Maximus know the circumstances of your non-attendance, as there is flexibility within the regulations for your assessment to be rescheduled without loss of benefit providing you can show you had 'good cause' for not attending. When deciding if you had 'good cause' the DWP must take into account your health and disability, so please don't accept the loss of these two benefits without taking action: the Scope helpline on 0808 800 3333 may be able to help you find a local advice agency which may support you with getting your PIP/ESA restored.

    All the best,

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 1,694Member Chatterbox
    This government are totally evil.  Putting charges on people's properties if they still want to receive mortgage interest payments; banning child benefits for the third child (for children born after a certain date); capping benefit payments; not to mention using crooked companies to conduct PIP assessments; and DWP asking for SORs from judges as routine when they know they are unlikely to find an error of law (most DWP 'experts' couldn't find their way out of a paper bag, let alone identify an error of law even if there were one).

    Let's hope the electorate see sense at the next General Election.  And make sure you all vote.
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi Mary
    Thanks for your kind reply, It was very sneaky of them to do that and just seems so unfair.  I don't see the logic of it because (not just for me) if I was in a rented property I would be able to claim housing benefit much more than the help I was getting with the interest on my mortgage.

    I need to sell my lease hold flat because I can't cope with the stairs and need to find somewhere more suitable but the service charges are so high I don't think anyone will want to buy it. (next door has been trying to sell with no luck for 3 years)  At the moment I do get some help with the service charge from DWP  and I am now wondering how this will all come into play with these new housing cost rules?  Also council tax?

    On a bit of a downer ATM as in the past month my pain and other things have got a lot worse, PIP has been cancelled, ESA under revue, housing costs will be stopped soon.  Someone stole my wheelchair.  Then I managed to lock myself out of my flat yesterday with no phone and dressed in not very flattering attire.

    I dare not open the rest of the advent calendar : ))


  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi Everyone,

    The Loans for Mortgages Regulations 2017 Explanatory Memorandum is worth a read to find out some of the finer details.

    It's clear that the letters are going out and more people are becoming aware of the changes. There's still some time to prepare and plan ahead and campaign. Anyone who is going to be detrimentally affected by the changes should consider writing to their local MP. Please share with us your experiences, problems and tips so that we can pick up on early emerging trends. 

    This is something I've been monitoring for some time and I'm following this very carefully. There are some other threads about this topic but the memo above explains things in more depth.

    Hope that's helped a little bit. Put it to one side for now and we'll come back to this in the new year with renewed energy and ready for a challenging year.

    There's been some great legal successes this year and there will be more to come.

    Best wishes

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Just had an idea. It could make us all rich : )))
     A "Board Game" called NOMONEYOPOLY..........Lets construct it.
    I will start with some of the metal parts, wheelchair, zimmer frame, perching stool..

    (Copy 21/12/17)
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Hello, I too am affected by these changes and feel it’s making me even more depressed than I already am and could be doing without the stress. I’m now looking at having to sell my home.  There’s no way I would accept the loan at over 2 percent interest.  It’s a disgrace since my smi payment is only £200 per month, much cheaper than the rent government pays.   Whoever thought this up needs a reality check.
  • elainewilliselainewillis Posts: 9Member Whisperer
    Hi all, I’ve only just registered on here. I too got the nasty brown envelope as discussed above. My query is, based on previous problems when my esa was stopped for a while, along with the housing benefit/mortgage interest payments, I then got a letter from the council saying I had to now pay council tax. Will this happen again now that the mortgage interest relief is being stopped?

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    You should make sure you tell your council about the change. The reason is that previously, you may have been 'passported' to a certain amount of council tax reduction because the mortgage interest payments you were getting (until April this year) counted as means-tested benefits.

    If you don't get any other income-related ESA paid directly to you, then there is a risk that you won't be 'passported' any more. You may still be entitled to some council tax reduction (also called council tax support), but the council will have to work that out separately and may need more information about your income.

    If you still get some income-related ESA (paid to you, separate from the mortgage interest) then your passporting should continue. If you are in any doubt, I would contact the council. I wouldn't rely on them getting in touch with you, although of course, it would be good practice for them to do that, but even if they do, they may not do it in time to make sure you have a valid council tax reduction calculation for April onwards.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox

    Rosie - 
    About your service charges, they are separate to the changes affecting mortgage interest. If you currently get some help with your service charges from the DWP, this should continue.

    Council tax support shouldn't be affected if you remain entitled to some means-tested benefit (income support, income-related ESA etc), which it sounds like you do. 

    As Jayne mentioned, please do challenge the decision to cancel your PIP.  And if you haven't already, explain to the DWP why you didn't attend the ESA reassessment - hopefully, they will accept that you had good cause, and the process can continue (I know it's horrible).

    If you have this reassessment, and the assessor puts you in the support group, then you should also get a decision about whether or not you'll be assessed again after that. Some people (with lifelong or deteriorating conditions who can't be expected to work) shouldn't be assessed again for ESA, so you never know, this could be your last one - fingers crossed.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Thank you Will for your advice and everyone for their replies, sorry for my late reply, internet has been playing up and too much brain fuzz to sort it out.

    Re: SMI.....Had a call from Serco last week to confirm if I had received the letter/information and had I made a decision about the loan.  I confirmed I had received it but had not read it in full or understood it other than it did not look like I had much choice.  He said they had an obligation to make sure I fully understood how it could affect me and wanted to go through my options which would take about 20 mins, I was not feeling very well at all at the time so instead agreed to a call back yesterday.

    I missed the call because it only went ring ring for a very short time and by the time I got to my phone they had hung up and did not call back.  So I called them back today.

    They are sending me the loan agreement forms to have a look at (2 copies) there is no commitment to the loan unless I sign and return 1 copy.  If taking up the loan it would be best to do so a few weeks before the April deadline to avoid a gap in mortgage payments.  I asked about taking up the loan at a later date if I needed to, was told I could apply but it would be up to a DWP decision maker to decide.
    Current interest rate is 1.7% which is determined by the BoE rate and can change either up or down each January and July.

    If you stop receiving benefits such as ESA the loan payments will stop automatically, this applies even if you are suspended or have an MR or Appeal in progress.

    Charge on property.....In the DWP (INFSMI 08/17) it states at the bottom of page 5.  DWP "may" place a second charge on your property.  I asked what they meant by may as this would imply they might not, as far as I can remember the (off script) reply was it depends on your mortgage lender and whether you already have a charge on your property.......We went around in circles on this and I am none the wiser, surely if you have a mortgage you will already have a charge on your property by the mortgage lender anyway?  Told to speak to lender about this.  Also told the DWP would only be able to claim back the loan + interest if I sold or transferred my property unless I was in negative equity in which case the loan would be written off, or part of depending on circumstances at the time.

    Also asked what would happen if I sold my property and bought another one and had to take out another mortgage to do so, which in my case is most likely. 
    At the time of sale/transfer the outstanding loan would be repaid out of any remaining equity but the loan payments from DWP if still entitled would be transferred to any new mortgage.  Doubt it will be that easy though!

    Soz for the long post, just wanted to update in the hope it might help others in the same s..t.

    ATB for 2018

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    I have now had to make the decision to put my house on the market and try buying something else.  I spent a lot of money adapting my home to suit my needs.  Looks like money down the drain now and a lot of stress to find something else which will be hard enough let alone pay to have it adapted.  DWP you sure know how to make folk feel worthless.
  • clmelia1clmelia1 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi there

    Could someone please advise

    I currently get SMI for my mortgage. I claim income support as I am carer to my daughter who is disabled and aged 11.

    Does anyone know if I will still be able to claim income support if I dont take out the SMI loan?

    If I were to lose my income support can I still get council tax supprt and free school meals?

    I currently get 
    Child tax credits
    Income support 
    Carers allowance 
    child benefit

    my daughter gets DLA HRM MRC

    I really dont want the loan unless I am absoloutely forced. Like many on here I am worried sick! 

    I am not working at the moment because of my daughters care needs


    Claire Melia
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    edited January 22
    Hi @clmelia1, @sandraM , @sleepy1 @nanof6 @elainewillis

    @clmelia1 - Yes you will still be able to claim Income Support if you don't take the loan.

    I can see everyone's concerns about this topic. This is being replicated in calls and emails to the helpline. It's causing an awful lot of worry.

    I've attached a document from the DWP which answers some of the general questions. I did laugh at the part where it states that the charge on the property won't affect you if you're re-mortgaging.

    From what I gather, Serco aren't able to give advice about your own situation and this leaves a bit of a gap in getting that advice on what's the best option. Lots of people will be in the situation where they have no choice but the accept the loan but there's still time before the changes come into effect. 

    This is where you all come in. It's great that you've shared with us about SMI. What we need is case studies to evidence the impact of these changes. If you're interested in this, please contact me at the helpline. I want to gather as much information as I can.

    My biggest concern from talking to people about SMI is that they're not aware of Universal Credit rolling out as a full-service nationwide this year and how it will affect them. If you're on a means-tested benefit such as income-related ESA, Income-based JSA, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit or Housing benefit. Please read the information on our website about Universal Credit.

    There's so much more to consider than just the SMI changes. In the mean-time please share this thread with anyone who might be affected by the changes to SMI and who needs information. Most of all, please keep posting and sharing with us what you're doing. It's massively helpful to us and to others reading these posts.

    As always get in touch with us at the helpline if you need advice about your own situation.

    Best wishes
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi sandraM
    I'm in a similar position as you so know how you feel HUGs.  The stress of moving when your fit and well is bad enough but when your ill/disabled and being forced to sell your home it just takes things to another level.  I get £88 per month towards my mortgage atm, the rest I have been funding from my PIP which has now been stopped I could have used part of that (which was for mobility and care needs) to pay the mortgage and enable me to stay.  Another appeal and more stress!

    Then there is all the extra costs involved with selling/buying.....Estate agents, solicitors, removals and as you state adaptions!  I asked Serco if any of these costs would be considered before the DWP claim back the loan, the answer was "If you take out the loan the DWP will continue to make SMI payments and allow you to stay in the property for the rest of your life"......."You need to discuss all this with your lender".

    Think they forgot to add this bit:  If the DWP stop your ESA (that is being reviewed) your totally stuffed because even though your unable to barely survive from one day to the next let alone work you will have no income whatsoever and you will still have to pay the mortgage the council tax the service charges the utilities etc 

    Ironically the chances are some developer/investor will get our property for a knock down price rip out all the stuff we needed put it in a skip then rent it out to fit and healthy people (probably from another country who have never paid any UK taxes) that are savvy enough to get everything paid for with love from the DWP.

    Yeah they surely do know how to make us make feel worthless

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Thanks Debbie
    Will look at your links later...... sleep beckons!  Missed your post whilst typing mine.  Nice to know people like yourself are here to help X

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Thank you for your support all here at scope and sending you some hugs back @sleepy1.

    Sorry if I'm a nuisance but I have another question.  If for example I bought a mobile home and the ground/site fees are £100 a month. Would this get paid for me?  I am trying to explore all options but feel time is running out.  Thx
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @sandraM,

    From Shelter's website. 

    Housing benefit if you own a mobile home

    If you own your mobile home, you can get housing benefit to help pay your pitch or site fees but not if fees are paid under a long lease.

    Housing benefit won't cover hire purchase fees for buying your home.

    I couldn't find a Universal Credit equivalent in as simple a form as above but, yes you can get help with site fees under Universal Credit too. I needed to check just to make sure. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661563/admf2.pdf 

    It's a lot of options to explore in quite a short space of time. 

    Please email me at the helpline if you need to talk through some of the options.

    Best wishes all


  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Thanks Debbie just as I thought. Its absolutely crazy when the system will now in some cases be paying out more than the mortgage interest. It beggars beyond belief actually.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox

    Thanks Debbie for answering Sandra's question.

    Just going back to the loan for SMI. Unfortunately, if the only bit of Income Support you get is mortgage interest, then whether you refuse the loan or not you will not longer be getting Income Support.

    As previously explained, if you get Income Support paid directly to you (not just the bit to your lender), then you will still get that and that means you'll carry on getting free school meals, full child tax credit, and the same amount of council tax support.

    The principle is the same for universal credit and income-based ESA - as long as you get some benefit which is paid to you, that will continue, and will continue to passport you to the other help you get with it.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • clmelia1clmelia1 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Thank you 

    I got a letter on Friday with some information but I didn't really understand it.

    If I decide not to accept the loan do I need to tell income support?

    Also the leaflet said something about a second charge being put on my property.  What does that mean?

  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @clmelia1,

    I would hope that if you didn't accept the loan that the information would be cascaded to Income Support. If that doesn't look like it will happen it would be best to call them and let them know.

    Charges on a property are used to secure a debt using your home as your security. A second charge mortgage works like your first mortgage, your home is at risk if you don’t keep up the payments. If you sell your home, the first charge mortgage gets cleared in full before any money goes towards paying off the second charge. Please see more about Second Charge or Second Mortgages from the Money Advice Service

    Although in the SMI cases there aren't any payments to be made until the property is sold, or you go back to work. Additionally if there is no equity in the property when you sell; the DWP will write off the debt.

    Please keep your posts coming everyone and share with with people you know who might be affected by these changes. It seems that there really isn't much information available but we can find this together and share with each other. 

    If anyone needs specific advice please get in touch with the helpline. We can only give general answers on the community and information will vary for every individual situation. If we can't answer we will try to find you local or national advice.

    Best wishes

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    I have now had to put my house up for sale. Godness knows how I am supposed to try packing my belongings.  Fees are already near £4000 to buy/sell pay estate agents and solicitors. 
    All the worry is causing so much despair and I believe you only get 6 months from selling toby somewhere else or you lose your benefit.  Can you confirm this please.
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi @sandraM,

    I'm really sorry that you feel there's no other option than to sell. You're not the first person I've spoken to who is looking at selling up as an option. There's no easy answers but I continue to work on this behind the scenes and I'm reaching out to various organisations, individuals and basically anyone who will listen. 

    You can have the proceeds of the sale of your home disregarded for 26 weeks and I believe this can be extended depending on your circumstances. You would need to get advice specific to your circumstances just to check this over though. That's easier said than done I know so if you get stuck please do get in touch with me at the helpline.

    Best wishes
  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    i also are selling up  because of this 
    my mortgage is £12 odd a week i'm,  living on PIP and old age  pention and pention creddit   what i can't understand if i was in a council property the DWP would of been paying a lot more,i have herd that people will only get £50 towards their rent from april

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Well having got my PIP appeal sent off today I managed to pluck up some extra courage to open one of the big fat twin brown envelopes that Serco/DWP have sent me about the "Loan Contract".

    Only around 60 pages in all to read........and looks like it will be more than 60 shades of brown.
    To start page 1 states "If you want to accept the loan you need to sign and return one copy of the loan agreement and charge within 6 weeks of the date of this letter".  There is no date anywhere on the letter or the envelope.......unless it is written in code somewhere!  Managed somehow to get to pages 3/4 then had to give up before my head exploded.

    Sandra and Nano, I agree this is just crazy and can so understand all the stress you are going through, it beggars belief why they would want to do this???

    Debbie, thanks for all your help and keeping a close eye on this yet to hit the fan situation.  I'm baffled why there has not been any media coverage (unless I missed it)?

    Sending my love to you all X rosie
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    The expenses I'm having to pay is now eating into my funds to allow me to buy something and limiting my choices..£4k is a lot of money.  Looking like it will be a tent at this rate, or I'm thinking a camper van but nowhere to put it. 
    Hugs to you all and thanks to the admin here, you are all fab.
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 717Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    Hi @nanof6 thanks for posting about the changes in housing benefit from April 2018, as this was the first I heard of it.

    The change affects any new tenancies from 1st April 2016 or renewed an existing tenancy since then. The change will be that benefits will only cover the local housing allowance, with tenants having to make up any shortfall. This will be for council and housing association tenants as it already applies to private rented accommodation.

    No idea how many people this will affect - @Debbie_Scope do you have any additional information? 

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Sandra lol

    A Tent, yeah was thinking down similar lines, could call it DWaPing : )  Wonder if they would pay the ground rent?  And agree to home visits?  Even in a camper van the HCP would no doubt say we walked more than 50 meter's unaided from the bedroom to the kitchen.

    Maybe it would be easier if they just rounded us all up and put us in a fenced off area in the middle of nowhere patrolled 24 hours by Serco, Atos and Capita. Just think of the money that could save!

    I cant even bare to look at that 60 page contract again atm, the whole thing stinks and I'm hoping someone with even half a brain will see sense and put it in room 101 along with all the fools that had anything to do with it.

    Mustn't grumble tho eh........Have a pain free day all X

  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for keeping us updated with how things are progressing.

    @sleepy1, I'd really like to see a copy of the loan agreement. I will message you and see if we can arrange this, if you're willing. 60 pages is an awful lot to read through. You've just sent your PIP appeal off and now have to face this. How are you coping? There's very little media coverage at the moment but I'm sure it will happen as more and more people come forward. 

    @Geoark @nanof6- There were proposals to bring in the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to social housing this year but in October 2017, the government announced they would not be applying these rates. It wasn't a good  idea to start with and it came as a relief when the plans were scrapped.

    There's some interesting ideas about tents, camper vans and so on. I admire everyone's humour and strength. It's not easy dealing with all of this anyway but when you're struggling with health and disability it's so much harder.

    Best wishes
  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    yes after the forms some one from serco or can't rember phone you 2 weeks later to see if you understand the forms and tells you about the loean its , well mine was £65. interest first yeat  over £200 the second year but you dont have to pay it till you sell, i said no i dont want a loen the tories can't be trusted, look what they done to the student loans.up up up they can change their minds once you get sucked in, and once you have signed your house to them who can tell what they will do.don't trust them
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    I wouldn't trust them either. The interest will go up and up.  Pity we couldn't buy some land that we could put a static or two on or camper van. The latter I'm swaying towards but don't know if I would still be entitled to benefits if I blew my sale of house money on.
  • elainewilliselainewillis Posts: 9Member Whisperer
    Yeh! SandraM lets have a commune, instead of Hippies we could be Dippies or something along those lines. We could all help each other out and all chip in towards things like a gardener to help us grow our own veg etc, a cleaner , a handyman etc etc. We can cut down on car costs by car sharing.  The more I think about it, the better an idea it sounds
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    That sounds a fab idea @elainewillis :) :)  There is a static caravan site at Stepps in Glasgow but they cost near enough £100k plus £100 a month in ground fees.

    I'm sure we could better that.  20k for a good enough static, and a piece of land between us....Oh isn't it good to dream.  

    Ive got to keep thinking positive or this pressure will crack me.  Im in so much pain and been trying to pack some stuff today. All I can says I'm glad I'm starting early.

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi nanof6,

    Serco did ring me to discuss the loan, the phone rang for about 2 seconds so was unable to take the call because by the time I got to the phone it had stopped.  Considering they are dealing with disabled people that is not fair in my opinion, but I suppose that would be their obligation fulfilled.  I waited a day or so for them to call back and when they didn'nt I called them, the first thing they wanted to know was had I read the letter and booklet and fully understood the implications and would I like to proceed with the loan.

    I told them that I had read it but certainly did not understand it and felt my options were very much limited anyway, asked them loads of questions which I got very vauge answers to as most of them were probably off script.  So they sent me the loan agreement to read and consider.

    I kid you not even a high court judge would probably struggle to fathom it, let alone little old fuzzy head me.

    What next I wonder?

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    @sleepy1 I entirely agree with you. When Serco called me I asked them a few Qs which they couldn't answer then asked if there was anything else I wanted to know to help me make my decision. I replied it was pointless asking them since they didn't have any answers for me so said goodbye. Waste of time talking to them in my opinion.
  • elainewilliselainewillis Posts: 9Member Whisperer
    I thought perhaps we could do a bit better than a caravan, which would be a bit too cold for me!  Perhaps buy an old retirement home or other large building and convert it. I don’t know how much people would have after selling their houses but say it’s 50k and multiply that by 10 people we’d have half a million to spend!  I visited a commune in Devon. It was in a beautiful old hall with outbuildings converted. If you buy there you have to undergo a 6 month assessment before your allowed. It was a bit too hippy for me though!

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    @elainewillis  When is the last time you were in a caravan. :) I have a friend that has a camper van and was visiting me recently. It was so well insulated the snow never melted off the roof. Im also thinking on how much it would cut the bills. :-)

    I sleep really badly so want to try not having neighbours either side and above and below. I realise I will have to have a few though. Just hope they aren't noisy and have screaming children to make my sleep even worse than it is now. Its certainly another worry!
  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    That site in blackpool looks great, im looking out for a wheelchair friendly caravan.i watced it on telly, its better than letting this thieving goverment get all you have worked for,
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Sandra as you say we can but dream :smile:

    I to am planning ahead and have even contemplated what crime would I be able to commit to get a long enough prison sentence without harming anyone......silly I know but in the scheme of things in the eyes of our government we (disabled people) are all thieving lieing worthless lazy money grabbing bar stewards.

    Go easy with the packing, God forbid if you were caught lifting an empty cardboard box!

    Hugs Rosie
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Just been catching up on a few posts and good to see people keeping their spirits up and coming up with some good ideas :smile:

    I know most of it is in jest atm but in reality if the DWP keep on going down the same route they are taking against disabled people it will not be much fun at all for many of them or the people who will have to try and sort all the mess out when push comes to shove.

    Obviously the government have to find money from somewhere to upgrade more important things like new warships, aircraft, and refurbishing historical buildings, not to mention bailing out banks that have been incompetent with our money.  And of course lets not forget their obligation to send billions to other countries to help other more needy people that live in an even more corrupt society that will never even see so much as a grain of rice from our government.

    Perhaps I need to eat something!

  • redfang55redfang55 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi Everbody
    i've just joined as i found this thread on google and it seems to be the most active thread about the Smi mortgage payments.
    We are carers for our profoundly disabled 19 year old and have been fotunate enough to be able to get on the housing ladder  some years ago, so obviously we have had these letters about the smi and i've been looking into it as much as possible ( i'm not one to let things go! ).
    Now i don't know how many people are also on income support however on the income support letters it shows an amount that the law says we need to live on! under that it gives you the calculations  and then it tells you that part 3 shows the money they will payout directly from our entitlement! now here is my gripe!, the smi is taken from the amount the law says we need to live on! soooo surely that smi payment would then simply be added back into the calculation after the smi ends in april? otherwise they aren't giving us what the law says we need to live on? and thus breaking the law?

    So to clarify with figures! ( not actual figures! )
    how your income support is worked out!
    1 . how much the law says you need to live on
    for you and your partner                        £100
    because you are caring for someone    £30
    For interest on a mortgage or loan        £15
       Total                                                   £145

    2 shows the money you already have coming in
    Carers allowence                      £50
    Total                         £50

    3 shows the money we will pay out directly from your
    For housing ( smi payment )           £15
    Total                         £15

    4 shows how your weekly benefit is worked out
    the amount the law says you need to live on  £145
    less the income you told us about                  £50
    less the money we will pay out for you           £15

    Total amount of income support                    £80

    SOOOO they clearly state that they take the smi from
    our income support! therefore when the smi support stops
    the " £15 " that goes to the smi should be re-calculated
    back into the weekly benefit! because if it isn't then
    we would only get £65 a week which is £15 below what the
    " law " says we need to live on!!

    Does that make sense to everyone else?

    I am trying to clarify this with someone however the people
    are income support have no idea apparently!
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 2,398Member, Community champion Chatterbox
    The only flaw I can see is that the ammount the "law" says you need to live on includes the SMI payment.
    That ammount is then taken back and given to the lender
    If you didn't have SMI then the Ammount would be £15 less to begin with

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    yes i rang DWP and said just that,  im on a pension and pension credits and said how much is pension credits  well i get £51.70 and they  take  off £14.65 for SMI leaves £37.05  
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox

    SMI will no longer be part of the benefits you get (pension credit, or redfang55, income support, or for others, income-related employment and support allowance), from April 2018.

    From that date, the amount of mortgage interest will NOT be part of the applicable amount, which is the amount the government say you 'need to live on' when they calculate these benefits. It will be a separate payment, a loan, which you can choose to take out, as all the paperwork should explain - and it will attract interest and be secured on your home.

    You won't get any extra benefit to make up for this. I'm really sorry, but there is hardly any transitional protection - just perhaps a few weeks for some people whilst they are setting up the loan. 

    What this means is that at the moment, the SMI is taken out of the income support or other benefit which gets paid to you.  However, in the future, the SMI won't be part of your benefit at all. And unfortunately, no, you will not get paid this amount - instead, you can choose to take it as a loan (so that payments to your lender continue), or it stops completely. 

    I know that this is causing a lot of anxiety for people and at the moment all we can suggest is that you ask your MP to help. It's the whole policy that is the problem.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • redfang55redfang55 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Well after doing the math on this we've decided that it
    is in our best interest to sell our home and move into private rented
    because after the proceeds have been spent we will get £115.07
    each week towards the rent ( to go into a private landlords pocket! )
    and we will only have to pay about £150 a month to top it up!
    so it's going to cost the government more in rent than it was doing
    in mortgage interest support! and we will be saving in the mean time!
    Kinda stupid actually when you think about it!
    800'000 disabled children in the country, if 200'000 of them are
    in families which own their own home with mortgage and they all
    decide to sell up and rent instead the housing benefit bill will
    be upwards of £20million a week! if the government instead just
    made a mortgage help policy of £25 a week that would be more like 
    £5million a week! 
    The government are screwing us over in a big way! and we all know this
    loan is nothing but greed on the governments part.
    I'm quite looking forward now to having a little more money in the
    pot each week and costing the government more in rent.
    They only have themselves to blame!
    The government should be ashamed of themselves attacking the lower
    class like this! but it doesn't surprise me one bit!

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    @redfang55  I too am selling my home but buying a cheaper one...hopefully, I feelI have no other option.  While you have capital you most likely won't get any benefits after 6 months until you run out of money, and I guess they will want to know where your money has gone.

    Will be interesting to hear how you get on.  Good luck with it.
  • elainewilliselainewillis Posts: 9Member Whisperer
    @sandraM. I presume that the £16,000 max savings rule will apply after the 6 months, although you have to notify them of anything above £6000 and they then take back back £1 for every £250 you have over the 6k.  I agree they will want to know where your money has gone. When I had an inheritance some years ago I had to provide proof and receipts for almost everything I spent. They will allow you to use the money for certain things like home improvement and a car but I’m sure they wouldn’t allow stuff like a world cruise
  • elainewilliselainewillis Posts: 9Member Whisperer
    Half my post has disappeared. I added that, once you got below the £16k limit would you then have to start the whole claim process over again? It’s a flippin’ minefield!

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Spot on @elainewillis . Its stressful enough without having to go all through it again, thats why I'm hoping to buy something else but it might mean moving into cheaper house areas I'm not familiar with to enable me to buy.  My elderly parents usually visit and help me out often but my dad has said he won't be happy driving further afield.  I'm at a loss as what to do for the best.

  • vicky68vicky68 Posts: 1Member Listener
    We have had the phone call today. My partner has MND and recently had an extention built for him. We won't be able to stay in our home. It's just more added stress.
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    edited February 1
    Hi everyone, 

    Welcome to @redfang55 and @vicky68, thanks for getting involved and adding your voices.

    Thanks to everyone for your input. It's really great to see everyone's posts. A big thank you to Will @BenefitsTrainingCo for your last post. 

    I've been picking up from my enquiries that people are being advised to seek financial advice from a Money Adviser. Fair enough, but where do you find free advice for very specific and complex issues? If CABs and other advice services aren't able to advise who can?

    I checked the Money Advice Service website and found information about Getting Free Financial help and information.

    If you've tried all of the things suggested it goes on to talk about

    When to pay for financial advice

    Financial advisers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and therefore provide regulated financial advice.

    Regulated advisers can only recommend and sell you products that are suitable for you.

    If they sell you an inappropriate product or give you inappropriate advice, you can make a complaint and if necessary take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service 

    Deciding whether to use a regulated financial adviser depends on how complicated your finances are and what type of product or service you want.

    If you’re looking for a basic savings product or straightforward car or house insurance, you might not need regulated financial advice.

    However, if it’s something more complicated like a pension, investment or mortgage, don’t risk going it alone unless you’re certain you know what you’re doing.

    If you’re not, then get advice from a regulated professional – not doing so could cost you far more than you will pay in fees.

    Suddenly there is an extra cost involved if you need to seek professional advice. This comes at a cost. A cost that isn't affordable when you're living on an already stretched budget. If you can't get that advice how can you be certain that this loan is right for you?

    The DWP say they won't cover the cost of financial advice. 

    Where does this leave people?

    The Money Advice Trust - the charity running the National Debtline raised their concerns about the changes to SMI, as did Turn2us. See https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-government-quietly-axed-free-10958915 for their quote.

    Has anyone contacted the National Debtline about their situation and would you recommend it to others?
    I'm really concerned about the short time left before the changes come in. 

    It's been really helpful seeing all your posts. Please keep asking questions and posting. 

    Have a good evening

  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Hi Debbie, your last 2 links above don't seem to be working.
  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 937Member, Helpline, Community advisor Chatterbox
    edited February 1
    Hi @sandraM,

    Thanks for letting me know, I hadn't realised. I've edited now and hopefully they work now.
    There's been some recent coverage about the changes which you can find in this link (hope it works)


    Have a good day

  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi Debbie

    Just read that link!

    "“Over time, someone’s house is likely to increase in value, so it is reasonable that anyone who has received financial help towards their mortgage should be asked to pay that back if there is ­available equity when the ­property is sold.”"

    I really don't know where to begin on that statement, but will give it a try. 

    So if you work hard all your life take on a mortgage buy a property pay lots of tax and are unfortunate to become too ill to work, all the taxes that you paid earlier on in life now count for nothing as you will be made to pay again (where possible) anyway.

    Oh yes that sounds very reasonable!

    Don't think it will just stop with SMI claw back, I think they will try and extend this to all other benefits.

    Workhouse's could be the next big thing me thinks X
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hello Sandra, was going to say hope you are well but thought twice about it.........hope you are coping under the circumstances.

    Thought this link might come in handy


    Did you look at that Mirror link Debbie posted?

    Hugs Rosie
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Thank you Rosie @sleepy1

    I think the mountain bothies are a place of shelter for hillwalkers to get in from the cold. I would also need a neig@sleepy1
    Because I'm such a bad sleeper I would like a semi bungalow or such like but you know the old saying "Wanting and getting are 2 different things" I know I can't afford one and even the mobile homes are extor@sleepy1

    How are you getting on? Sending (((((HUGS))))) back.
  • nanof6nanof6 Posts: 183Member Chatterbox
    how come all the mp buy a house with tax payers money live in it sell it keep the proffit and get another, and another.  oh yeh one rule for them one rule for everyone else
  • SN27SN27 Posts: 2Member Listener
    I find myself in much the same position as others on here and just baffled how the government can be getting away with hitting the poorest and most vulnerable in society yet again. I am a single parent caring for a disabled son and am being forced into a lifetime of debt. I have written to Jeremy Corbyn and (having just read the link posted by Debbie) I will also email Debbie Abrahams. It may do absolutely nothing to help us but I feel this is all I can do, we are powerless against this ruthless government. These are the email addresses. Perhaps we should all email them and have our voices heard...
    I have also signed the 38 degrees petition, the change.org petition and the parliamentary one. However, so far the numbers are low and apart from this Mirror article, a tiny mention by Paul Lewis on BBC Breakfast today and again a short discussion about it on Radio 4 today there has been very little media coverage. This is going under the radar. Sadly.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,922Member, Community advisor Chatterbox

    I agree, I would encourage everyone affected to write to their own MPs as well. Even if you think you don't have a sympathetic MP, they may not realise how unfair this policy is for long-term disabled people, carers and others who through no fault of their own are reliant on means-tested benefits. It will simply add debt to debt and trap people in poverty.

    The government's concerns about helping people to acquire an asset could be addressed in a different way, not through this policy.

    Here's an extract from a recent debate showing MPs are already concerned - we need to add to this as much as possible.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • SN27SN27 Posts: 2Member Listener
    Thank you for the link Will. I have now e-mailed my MP,  Debbie Abrahams MP and also emailed the MPs in the link who challenged Kit Malthouse MP (they may take little notice though as I am not their constituent but I wanted to thank them all the same). These emails of mine will have no impact as there is more power in numbers so I would also urge everyone affected to email their MP, Debbie Abrahams MP and Jeremy Corbyn. My disabled child deserves a secure future and everyone else on here has their story to tell and grievance about this. Tell the politicians!
  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener
    Hi, I’ll try to explain my circumstances as briefly as possible.

    im disabled, ex partner left 8 years ago and lives abroad, I care for our adopted disabled son alone. I now also care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and now lives with us. I need to tackle AA for her but am struggling to focus.

    the house is still in joint names so ex will receive half upon sale of house. He pays child support but does not contribute to the mortgage.

    for the last 7 years I have received smi, income support and more recently Carers allowance. My son is awarded dla and we get child tax credits.

    we had a full term fixed rate so smi only covers half of interest only payments and I’ve been making up balance.

    having spoken to serco, I don’t need exs agreement on changing to the “loan” as it won’t affect him as he doesnt live here so anything needing to be paid back will only come out of my half. Joy.

    i did get dla for me until 2016 but lost that, and my car, when being changed to PIP. I haven’t had the mental capacity to fight that so far. Mandatory reconsideration was unsuccessful. My mother lost her driving license 3 months before I lost dla, due to her Alzheimer’s dx so she helped to buy another car but I have finance for most of it.

    i would love to get back out to work, full time, but physically cannot handle a job and care for my son and my mother and the house. My son would need specialist child care, my mother could be left for a few hours but obviously this will be changing as her disease progresses.

    if I sell I won’t have enough to buy another house once ex has taken his half (unless we all relocate a few hundred miles away). I can’t get a mortgage as I’m not working, although my ‘deposit’ would be substantial. I can’t get life insurance anyway as I had breast cancer 4 years ago.

    ive have considered an area where property is really cheap (as I say a few hundred miles away) but there are no special schools at all, I mean none....not just unsuitable ones.... I’m not prepared to send him to residential.

    The only way I’m keeping it all going is adoption allowance, which, I think, I’ll lose if I move away.

    ive agreed to continue with smi as I don’t have a choice really.... of course I could sell, rent and live off the equity! I really really want to be able to leave a home for my son, I think, with support, he’d be able to be relatively independent and at least have the security of his own home. 

    Anyone have any snippets of wisdom, or hope??
  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener
    Ps. My local mp is currently holding a fairly prominent position in the government....not sure she’d be interested!
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi sooz, just spotted your post on here......Wow you really do have some complicated things going on and you need to get some professional help to guide you on what is the best thing to do. 
    I am not qualified on any of these matters and can only give you a caring ear, a hug and bits of advice I have learned from my own experience.  I am sure much  more experienced people from Scope will be able to help a lot more than I can.

    I realize you don't have much choice with the SMI loan but do not understand why it all falls on your shoulders and why your ex as joint owner would not have to sign the loan agreement, surely any charges on a property held in joint names would be subtracted from the whole of the equity left and not just your half.

    Have you spoke to your ex about the situation because even if you did decide to sell you would need them to agree to the sale which could be very awkward if they decided otherwise.  You could take it to court to get a Judge to force a sale without them signing the contract but that would be a very long and stressful process.  You have enough going on already without another spanner in the works.

    For what it is worth and considering your situation I would just pay what you can for now and forget about this stupid loan tripe.  Let the DWP carry on with their plans and leave them to clear up the mess they leave  behind when they realize what they have done is completely illegal. 
    Its only tax payers money being wasted though so why would they care about that. 

    Meanwhile the bright spark who thought it was such a brilliant idea relaxes in a special members only club sipping the best vintage and puffing on a big fat cigar bragging and chuckling to his toff mates how much money they will gain from this.

    Grrrrr.... It is disgraceful to put people in this position and totally illogical when one considers the costs of helping with small amounts of mortgage interest as apposed to paying large amounts of rent payments.  

    Example.........From April 2018 there is no way we can any longer pay the £60 a month interest towards your mortgage, but if you would like to go through all the stress and extra costs of moving from your own property to a less suitable rented one we will be very happy to pay your landlord £500 per month or possibly more.

    As Sandra said it beggars belief..


  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener
    Thanks sleepy. Yes ex knows and also says it’s not his responsibility. He initially wanted to sell the house, I don’t think he’d block me selling.
  • sandraMsandraM Posts: 18Member Whisperer
    Hi Sooz, You sound in more a difficult situation than most. Its terribly unfair that the money will be repaid from just your half of a loan while your ex reaps the benefit one day with house rising prices.

    We are all different and have different circumstances but I'm glad I can at least make the decision not to take the loan.  I won't have any money to decorate etc but at least I will have the satisfaction of not taking the loan.  I really do sympathise with you and can only send you hugs and hope you try seeking for some guidance from maybe a welfare officer or such.  Keep us posted please!
  • PippaScopePippaScope Posts: 1,771Administrator Scope community team
    edited February 14
    Hi @sooz, I just wanted to add my sympathies toward your situation and all that you're going through.

    I wondered whether you'd considered ringing the Scope helpline? As your situation is rather complex, they may be the best placed to offer advice. If you'd like to get in touch, they can be contacted at 0808 800 3333, or there are alternative methods of contacting them. I really hope this helps- please do keep us updated and know that we're wishing you and your family all the best.
  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener
    Thank you pippa. I think I’ll call when I can
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Hi all
    Sooz, sorry about my epic rant early this morning I was so fired up after reading your post and the difficulties it has left you in, along with many of us.  I am quite hardened by now but after reading about your problems I was in floods of tears and then I got angry......Still am.

    I really do think DWP are acting illegally by discriminating between people who have a mortgage and others that pay rent to a landlord.  Hopefully someone will take a case to court to prove the injustice.

    Your obviously a very strong willed person who is probably not used to asking for help but you have a lot to cope with at the moment so please accept the olive branch and call the helpline.

    Love and best wishes X Rosie   
  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener
    Ah thank you. I’m sorry you are upset. Sometimes life is a struggle but we live for the good bits! I don’t ask for help easily, plus I’ve learned that help is hard to come by these days.

    i didn’t think about the comparison between help with interest payments and help with rent..... either way it’s paying someone’s mortgage! 

    Ill write to my mp too, Andrea Leadsom has gone right down in my estimation in recent years as it is!

    onward and upward, rant away to your hearts content if you feel the need xx
  • sleepy1sleepy1 Posts: 94Member Talkative
    Did me good to have a good cry, reminded me that I was human and not just a national insurance number!  I can get a bit carried away sometimes especially when the meds kick in.  Just wish I had more energy.

    There seems to have been quite a bit on the news today about the PIP and ESA assessments so I have posted some links on other threads.

    A so called medically trained person asked someone at an assessment  "How did you catch Down's Syndrome"  if that is not enough of a wake up call to overhaul the system then I really don't know what is.

    Hope you have many good bits to come X Rosie
  • soozsooz Posts: 13Member Listener

    ah energy......I remember that..... xx
  • millymoo66millymoo66 Posts: 3Member Listener
    Can I ask can you go back to contribution esa from income esa if you refuse the loan ?
    The mortgage intetest payment is the only benefit I receive that' income related
  • alexwhitealexwhite Posts: 179Administrator, Helpline Scope community team

    We have put together a summary of our answers to FAQs about Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) - please let us know if we have missed anything!

    Hope this helps, Alex
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