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Social Security Benefits: Mortgages and Rented Housing

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 143825, tabled on 26 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the adequacy of social security support for (a) mortgage costs and (b) renters during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

1 February 2021

No comparative assessment has been made of the adequacy of social security support for mortgage costs and renters during Covid-19.

Support for mortgage costs during the covid-19 outbreak is as follows:

  • Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) provides support for homeowners who qualify for an income related benefit.
  • SMI helps people maintain their existing, reasonable mortgage commitments so they can remain in their homes.
  • New claimants to Universal Credit who are not in work are entitled to claim help with their mortgage payments once they have served the nine-month qualifying period.
  • Homeowners experiencing financial difficulties meeting mortgage repayments because of Covid-19 should contact their lender as soon as possible to discuss what support might be available.

Support for renters during the covid-19 outbreak is as follows:

  • In response to Covid-19 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased in April 2020 for renters in the private sector. This provides around 1.5 million claimants who receive either the housing element of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit with around £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received.
  • We are maintaining LHA rates at their increased levels for 2021/22 ensuring claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year, providing claimants with stability during this period.
  • For those living in the Social Rented Sector, maximum housing costs support is based on actual rent and eligible service charges less any deductions for under-occupation.
  • For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available from local authorities.
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