It has been revealed homeowners in receipt of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), who are being contacted about accepting Government loans that will replace the SMI benefit scheme in April, are being referred to advice agencies that cannot give them advice.
The revelation comes after Margaret Greenwood (MP) submitted a written question to the UK Government:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which organisations Serco signposts Support for Mortgage Interest claimants to for advice on deciding whether to take out a loan from her Department to replace the benefit they are currently receiving; and whether such organisations are able to offer financial advice on taking out a loan.
Kit Malthouse, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) responded:
All existing recipients of Support for Mortgage Interest will be contacted and given information about the changes. The information leaflet and Frequently Asked Questions booklet point claimants to organisations who can offer impartial, free support. These include Money Advice Service, Shelter and Citizens Advice Bureau. These organisations do not offer regulated financial advice, however they can support claimants to understand the options available to them.
For more information on the new loan scheme, see here