There are special arrangements to help borrowers who are in receipt of supplementary benefit and who are finding it difficult to pay their mortgage interest. No help can be given with capital repayments but an amount is allowed for mortgage interest in the calculation of supplementary benefit for all claimants responsible for paying mortgages. Building societies are normally willing to accept payment of interest only from claimants. But if a claimant falls into arrears with mortgage payments the sum allowed for mortgage interest in his benefit and £1·50 towards the arrears may be deducted and paid on his behalf to the mortgagee if: (i) the claimant is in arrears because, in the opinion of the adjudicating officer, he has failed to budget; and(ii) he has not paid two of the mortgage payments due in the preceding twelve weeks; and(iii) in the opinion of the adjudicating officer, it is in the claimant's interests to institute direct payment.
The adjudication officer may also institute direct payment even if these criteria are not satisfied if in his opinion it is in the overriding interests of the claimant or his family to do so.In addition, each local office has a special case officer, whose responsibility it is to give particular attention to individual cases where difficulties arise. These officers are trained to give advice in cases where there are problems in budgeting. Cases are referred to the special case officer from within the local office and also externally, direct from local authority social services departments (social welfare department in Scotland) or similar organisations.