COVID Repayment Holidays


As part of a wide range of COVID related financial measures, the UK Government announced a mortgage repayment holiday scheme for borrowers suffering financial hardship during the pandemic. The scheme was introduced in March 2020 and then extended in October 2020 until 31 March 2021. The extension end date coincides with a number of other financial schemes introduced temporarily.

According to UK Finance, the number of mortgage borrowers taking up the scheme was 1.82 million at the start of June 2020. this figure had significantly reduced by the end of October 2020, but with a further extension to the scheme figures might rise again.

About the scheme

What to consider

Support for Mortgage Interest

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) can be claimed by homeowners to receive assistance with their mortgage costs. It is available to people who have been receiving a qualifying benefit for a specific amount of time.

These benefits are:

  • Income Support (IS)

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Pension Credit

  • Universal Credit

Waiting period

The current waiting time for a qualifying claimant is 39 weeks or 9 months. Claimants in receipt of universal credit have additional criteria:

  • a homeowner is not entitled to receive any assistance with their mortgage costs if they receive earned income during an assessment period

  • a period of paid work will also reset the waiting period for a claimant previously in receipt of assistance with their mortgage through SMI and, once this work ends, the person will have to wait a further 9 months for assistance.

Secured Loan

The assistance paid to homeowners is paid as a loan, not a benefit. The loan accrues interest. and does not have to paid back the in instalments. Instead, the amount owed, plus interest, is added as a charge on the property. This means that the debt must be cleared if the property is sold or ownership of the property is transferred.

Tailored Support

Affect on credit rating & future borrowing

Contacting your lender

Self certify or affordability?

Alternative options