Help with mortgage costs if you're out of work
If you're struggling to pay your mortgage because you're out of work, 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 will take action through the courts. This could lead to you losing your home.
If 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 aren't entitled to one of these benefits, you might be able to get other help. See More options for dealing with mortgage problems.
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 deal with mortgage debts.
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. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.
You might also find it helpful to look at What happens if your mortgage lender takes you to court.
Which benefits give help towards mortgage costs
The following benefits 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.
For more information about whether you may be entitled to one of these benefits and how to make a claim, see the following pages:
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.
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. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
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 and getting Pension Credit, there is no waiting period and you can get housing costs payments straight away.
More options for dealing with mortgage problems
If you aren't entitled to any of the benefits which give help towards your mortgage costs, other help might be available.
For more information about your other options, see the following pages: