Belfast Telegraph

New benefit cut 'will tip homeowners into a crisis'

By Jamie Stinson

A cut to the mortgage support benefit which comes into effect today could tip some homeowners into a "crisis situation", it has been claimed.

The interest rate used to work out how much claimants can get under Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) - which helps those who are struggling to pay their mortgage - drops from 3.63% to 3.12%. The cut means someone with a £130,000 mortgage will see their benefit fall by £663 annually, mortgage debt service Housing Rights said.

The housing advice service, which works on behalf of Department for Social Development, stressed that this is a significant amount for those on a low income.

Peter McMahon of Housing Rights said: "Today's benefit reduction may tip some homeowners who are just about managing into a crisis situation that will put their home at risk.

"We would urge anyone who receives SMI, or feels they may be affected, to get in touch."

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