Government improves benefits for out of work homeowners

The government has brought forward planned improvements to Income Support for Mortgage Interest (ISMI), a benefit that is paid to out-of-work homeowners. In September, it announced that it would cut the waiting period for ISMI from 39 weeks to 13 weeks from April 2009. Last week, it was announced that this change will now kick in in January.

Also, the maximum mortgage on which ISMI is calculated will be increased from £100,000 to £200,000, bringing it more into line with current house prices. Ironically, this is the first change to the maximum amount since the early nineties, and it comes just as prices are plummeting back towards 1990s levels...