§ Baroness Jeger
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What assistance is given by the Department of Health and Social Security to unemployed people threatened with losing their homes because of mortgage default.
§ Baroness Trumpington
There are special arrangements to help borrowers who are in receipt of supplementary benefit and who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage interest. An amount is allowed for mortgage interest in the calculation of supplementary benefit for claimants responsible for paying mortgages. Building societies are normally willing to accept payment of interest only from claimants. But if a claimant falls into arrears with mortgage payments the sum allowed for mortgage interest in his benefit and £1.45 towards the arrears may be deducted and paid on his behalf to the mortgagee if:
the claimant is in arrears because, in the opinion of the adjudication officer, he has failed to budget, and
he was not paid two of the mortgage payments due in the preceding twelve weeks, and
in the opinion of the adjudication officer, it is in the claimant's interests to institute direct payment.
The adjudication officer may also institute direct payment even if these criteria are not satisfied if in his opinion it is in the overriding interests of the claimant or his family to do so.