18 Sep 2019

Government help if you can’t pay your mortgage

  • If you’re struggling to meet your mortgage repayments, the government could be able to help. You could be able to sign up for the Mortgage Rescue scheme, Support for Mortgage Interest, or other government benefits that might boost your income.

    Contact your lender first


    If you’re having trouble paying for your mortgage, your first step should always be to contact your lender.

    They want to help you to meet repayments.

    Your lender can discuss your options with you and can offer suggestions, including:

    • temporary payment arrangements
    • lengthening the term of your mortgage, or
    • switching temporarily to interest-only repayments.

    Get free advice

    If you’re anxious about being unable to meet repayments, there are plenty of advice services which provide guidance for free.

    These include Shelter(Opens in a new window) National Debtline(Opens in a new window) and StepChange(Opens in a new window) if you’re at risk of eviction and free debt advice charities if you’re struggling with debts. 

    Mortgage Rescue scheme


    This scheme is no longer available.


    Some local authorities and housing associations in Wales operate mortgage rescue schemes (MRS) to help homeowners avoid repossession if it is likely that otherwise the homeowner will be homeless.    


    The Scottish Government provides some support to homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage through its Home Owners’ Support Fund.

    The fund operates two schemes which homeowners could apply for:

    • the Mortgage to Rent scheme where a social landlord buys your home and rents it back to you
    • the Mortgage to Shared Equity scheme where the Scottish Government buys up to a 30% stake in your home, which reduces how much you owe on your mortgage. You continue to live in your home but make lower mortgage repayments as a result.

    Support for Mortgage Interest

    If you’re claiming these benefits:

    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support 
    • Universal Credit
    • Pension Credit

    You might be able to claim help with your mortgage interest payments. This is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) and is offered as a repayable loan.

    Benefits that might increase your income

    It’s worth checking if you’re entitled to benefits to help boost your income to meet mortgage payments.

    Budgeting and cost cutting tips

    Check your income and outgoings with our Budget planner to help you.

    Follow the links below to work out your monthly income and outgoings and to see if there are any cost cutting tips you could use to help free up cash at the end of each month. Every little will help.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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