The purpose of mortgage interest supplement (MIS) is to provide short-term income support to eligible people who are unable to meet their mortgage interest repayments in respect of a house which is their sole place of residence. The supplement assists with the interest portion of the mortgage repayments only. There are currently 17,600 persons in receipt of mortgage interest supplement, with almost €51m provided in 2012.
From 18 June 2012, applicants for mortgage interest supplement must comply with an alternative payment arrangement agreed with their lender for a cumulative period of not less than 12 months prior to becoming eligible for the scheme. The underlying principle of this legislative change is to ensure that mortgage interest supplement eligibility criteria reflect the forbearance arrangements set out in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process.
To satisfy this new condition, documentary evidence is required from the lender which will establish—
Whether the applicant is currently engaged with the lender in addressing his or her mortgage obligations and has complied with the terms of any alternative payment arrangements put in place for a cumulative period of not less than 12 months.
The details of the terms of any previous and the current alternative payment arrangement(s), and
The periods for which the alternative payment arrangements have been in place.
The Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears provides that lenders must assist borrowers in ensuring that all requests for documentation and information for the purposes of applying for State supports in relation to mortgages are processed within ten business days of receipt.