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Mortgage Interest Relief

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when his Department will process the mortgage interest relief benefit claim which Mr. Thompson of Great Headline Crescent, Paignton submitted in May 2005. (99241)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

You recently tabled the following Parliamentary Question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department will process the mortgage interest relief benefit claim which Mr Thompson of Great Headline Crescent Paignton submitted in May 2005. [99241]

The Secretary of State asked me to reply to your question and, in that reply, I promised to write to you directly concerning your constituent Mr Thompson of Headline Crescent, Paignton.

I should begin by explaining that mortgage interest relief benefit is not a stand-alone benefit, but forms part of a customer’s entitlement to Income Support (IS). In cases where a customer’s mortgage was taken out after October 1995, they would not ordinarily qualify for assistance with their mortgage interest payments for the first 39 weeks of their claim.

Mr Thompson claimed IS on 24 May 2006. When his claim was assessed we decided that he was not entitled to IS at this time as without his mortgage interest payments being taken into account his household income exceeded his IS entitlement.

Following your enquiry we reviewed Mr Thompson’s claim and found that we had overlooked the fact that he had a current claim for Incapacity Benefit dating from 8 May 2005 for which he was receiving National Insurance credits. The effect of this claim was that his mortgage interest payments should have been taken into account from the start of the claim to IS he made on 24 May 2006. I have asked for Mr Thompson’s entitlement to be reviewed to establish if he now qualifies for IS or mortgage interest relief from this date, and I am sorry for any inconvenience or distress Mr Thompson has been caused.

When Mr Thompson submitted his claim for IS on 24 May 2006 he requested that we consider backdating this to 9 May 2005. We wrote to Mr Thompson on 27 July 2006 requesting further information to enable us to consider this request. However, we did not receive the information requested. We therefore asked him again to supply this information on 1 November. When we receive the necessary information we will consider Mr Thompson’s claim with the utmost priority and notify him accordingly.

I hope this is helpful.