Apply for SMI

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

Support for mortgage interest (SMI) is a loan from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help you pay the interest on your mortgage or another home loan.

You might be able to get SMI if you get benefits, and you own your home or are in a shared ownership scheme.

Before you apply, it’s important to decide if SMI is the best option for you.

Check if someone else needs to agree to the loan

If you live with your partner, they’ll need to agree to the loan as well - even if they don't own the home with you. This is because the DWP treat you as a couple for benefits.

If you own the home with someone else like a friend or family member, they might need to agree to the loan if they live with you. They won't need to agree if they live somewhere else.

The DWP will tell you if someone else needs to agree to the loan. It’s usually a good idea for them to agree, because it means you’re more likely to afford the mortgage interest payments.

If you don’t have an application form

You should ask for a form if:

  • you originally turned down an SMI loan and have changed your mind

  • you want help with a new loan

  • the DWP haven’t sent you the form when they should have

When the DWP should send you a form

The DWP will send you an application form if they think you might be able to get SMI.

If you get JSA, ESA or Income Support, the DWP will usually send the application form 7 to 8 months after you claim. This is because most SMI payments start about 9 months after your benefit starts.

If you get Universal Credit, the DWP will send you the application form after you claim. You can start getting SMI payments 3 months after your Universal Credit starts.

If you get Pension Credit, you should get an application form straight away.

Asking for an application form

Contact the office you usually talk to about your benefits and ask them to send you an SMI application form. You can also find the contact details for your benefit on GOV.UK.

Fill in the application form

You can ask your nearest Citizens Advice to help you fill in the form, but they can’t tell you what you should write. If you want help deciding what to do, you can find a financial adviser - you’ll have to pay for their help.

If you originally turned down the SMI loan and have changed your mind, ask for the payments to be backdated to when you were first entitled to SMI.

When you’ve filled in the form, send it to your lender. They’ll send it to the DWP.

Ask the Post Office for proof of postage when you send the form - you might need to show when you sent it.

After you’ve sent the form

The DWP will tell you if you can get SMI. Contact them if you haven’t heard from them after 4 weeks.

If you can get it, the DWP will call to check if you still want SMI and explain how it works. You can also ask them any questions you have.

After the phone call, they’ll send you 2 more forms:

  • the loan agreement

  • a charge form - this confirms they can take the money to pay back the SMI loan when you sell your home

If you disagree with the DWP’s decision

You can ask the DWP to change their decision. You’ll need to ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ - this means the DWP will look at the decision again.

You usually need to contact them within 1 month of the date of the decision.

Who to contact depends on which benefit you’re getting. Find out how to:

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Page last reviewed on 02 January 2019