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Can you get a mortgage on benefits?

Published: 05 October 2023
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Author: Carl Shave - CEO and co-founder
Last updated: 30May2024

Yes, there are lenders who will use benefit income within their assessment for a mortgage.

At the time of writing, there is in excess of 5 million people claiming Universal Credit. And around 40% of these, or about 2 million people, are working. It is therefore no great surprise that many ask us ‘if I can get a mortgage on benefits?’

In this guide

Can I get a mortgage if I’m on benefits?

It is definitely possible to get a mortgage whilst on benefits. Your overall personal circumstances will be taken into consideration when applying, such as:

  • Affordability – does the lender feel the mortgage amount required is affordable for the duration of the loan?
  • What other sources of income you have? Many lenders require you to have other forms of income in addition to the benefits. This could be from PAYE or self-employment.
  • How much deposit or equity do you have? You may find that the more reliant a lender is on the benefit income for affordability, the greater the deposit or equity they will need.
  • How long are the benefit payments to last? This could potentially restrict your mortgage term if they are not paid indefinitely.

What benefits can count as income when applying?

Virtually all benefits can be utilised in regard to an assessment for a mortgage application. The difficulty lies in knowing which ones are used by which lenders. As criteria differ from one lender to another, even those that accept benefits as a source of income may not need specific types.

Some of the more widely acceptable benefits are:

How much can I borrow?

Knowing how much you can borrow, that includes how affordability assessments are made, is critical when considering a mortgage. You also need to know what sources of income a lender will use. Because the criteria in relation to benefit income varies widely, many online affordability calculators will not work. Therefore, to know how much you can borrow when on benefits. it is usually best to deal with a broker or a lender directly.

What lender should I use if I’m on benefits?

The lender you should use if you are on benefits is very much dependent on your individual circumstances. In particular, which benefits you are in receipt of.

It is virtually impossible to name a specific lender. This is because there is such a large array of benefits, combined with a varying degree of type and how much a lender will accept.

Some of the more recognised mortgage lenders for those on benefits are:

    • Halifax
    • NatWest
    • Nationwide
    • Skipton

How do I get a mortgage while on benefits?

As with any other mortgage application, lenders will assess an application from a person on benefits rigorously. This will help them ensure you will be able to make the payments.

They will also take account of your credit rating. There are various steps you can take to positively affect your credit rating and improve your chance of being approved for a mortgage. These include:

  1. Ensuring that you are registered on the electoral roll.
  2. Obtaining copies of your credit file and checking it for any mistakes.
  3. Checking your credit file for potentially false or fraudulent entries.
  4. Managing your existing credit commitments by paying all your bills on time.
  5. Managing down your existing debt.
  6. Checking your credit file for financial associations with other parties.
  7. Avoiding moving between properties too often.
  8. Seeking independent debt advice for more serious credit problems.

You can learn more on our dedicated page about how to improve your credit score.

Are there any drawbacks of being on benefits when securing a mortgage?

Being on benefits in and of itself needn’t be a barrier to getting a mortgage. However, as with any other mortgage application, the lender has a regulatory obligation to be sure you can afford the mortgage repayments.

Many people on benefits have a limited income, and this in turn may affect your ability to get a mortgage and the amount you will be able to borrow. In some cases, this may also be exacerbated by past credit problems. This could be if you have fallen behind with payments on credit commitments.

Can I still obtain a mortgage if I have bad credit and am on benefits?

It is possible to get a mortgage with bad credit whilst receiving benefits. As with anyone applying for a mortgage, there will be certain eligibility criteria that will need to be met.

With already limited options when using benefits, expect the number of mortgage lenders to be even less when considering both.

As with anyone, getting the best mortgage advice is paramount to your success of acceptance and obtaining the most suited scheme.

Mortgage broker for people on benefits

Using a mortgage broker for individuals on benefits can prove invaluable in:

  1. finding the right lender, and
  2. finding the most appropriate mortgage for your individual needs.

A broker who has knowledge of which lenders accept benefits should save you a huge amount of time. Also, by finding you the right mortgage it will hopefully ultimately save you money.

At Just Mortgage Brokers, we can provide impartial, expert advice on mortgage options, no matter your circumstances. Contact us today to discuss how we can help find the mortgage that’s right for you.

FAQs

Can I get a Buy-to-Let mortgage while on benefits?

There are lenders in the market who will consider a Buy-to-Let mortgage for someone on benefits. Whilst personal income plays a relevance in your application, in the most part, a Buy-to-Let is based on the rental income of the property.

Can I get a Shared Ownership mortgage on benefits?

Being in receipt of benefits should not stop you being considered for a Shared Ownership mortgage. As with any applicant, there will be certain eligibility criteria you will need to fulfil.

What benefits the lenders consider will influence how much you can borrow. Remember, any rent payable also must be taken into consideration when deciding how much you can borrow.

Does Universal Credit count as income for a mortgage?

Yes it can, but as above, not by every lender. Universal Credit started to be phased in back in 2013 to replace six previous benefits. Sadly, some lenders are still adapting to this change and it could therefore affect the amount you can borrow.