I've recently been diagnosed with bowel cancer, I'm not going to go into the details but I want to make sure my family is looked after when I'm gone and I'm worried about how we're going to afford our mortage now and also when I'm gone. Is there any help out there or anyone we should be talking to? Thank you
Help with costs that are specifically mortgage costs is
available via certain means-tested benefits.
Income-related employment and support allowance
(ESA), income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) pension credit
and universal credit can all help with mortgage interest payments and certain
other housing costs.
Eligibility for all the above benefits is assessed by
applying their normal entitlement rules. For example, to receive ESA someone must
be agreed as having a limited capability for work.
The amount of housing costs met is worked out taking into
account the following:
whether your housing costs are ‘excessive’;
an upper limit or ‘ceiling’ on loans (although there
are some exceptions);
a standard rate of interest applied to loans (rather
than that actually charged);
deductions for any ‘non-dependants’ living with
you (eg adult son or daughter, friend or relative).
a waiting period (a number of weeks you must be
entitled to the means-tested benefit before housing costs are included in your
Housing costs that you can get help with can include not
just interest on other loans taken out to buy your home.
In addition, they can include interest on loans for certain
repairs and improvements; some service charges payable as a condition of your
occupancy (eg under a lease) and ground rent or other rent payable under a long
brief, to calculate allowable housing costs the outstanding balance of your
qualifying mortgage(s) and/or loan(s) is multiplied by a standard interest rate
to give a qualifying amount of interest for the year.
standard interest rate used by the DWP to calculate housing costs help is set
at a level equal to the Bank of England’s published monthly average mortgage
interest rate (currently 3.63%).
weekly rate of qualifying interest is calculated by dividing the yearly figure
by 52. Other qualifying housing costs (eg service charges) are calculated at a
weekly rate and added to this figure. The result is added to your ‘applicable
As you’ve been diagnosed with bowel
cancer you may be claiming or preparing to claim ESA.
Help with mortgage costs is not
available to those who are only entitled to contribution based ESA but only
those who are awarded income based ESA.
However, while someone may not immediately
be eligible for income based ESA they may be after a waiting period, often of
13 weeks, when mortgage costs can be added to their applicable amount.
So, if someone is reused income based
ESA but they have a mortgage they should get advice as to whether they may be
able to move on to income based ESA after an initial waiting period.
In addition, if housing costs have been
awarded to a partner, if that partner dies then this can often mean that
similar means-tested mortgage costs benefit help can be awarded to their surviving
In terms of the general eligibility conditions for the
means-tested benefits I have listed, Marie Curie have further information available
However, you may want to get more detailed advice about your
potential current entitlement and that of your partner.
You may want to contact Marie Curies Support Line for further
help: 0800 090 2309 (Monday to Friday
Suggestions of independent advice sources are available in Disability
Rights UK’s Getting Advice factsheet available @ http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/getting-advice