Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sinn Féin worried about Mortgage Interest Supplement Cuts

New Ross Sinn Féin has raised concerns over recent changes to the eligibility criteria for mortgage interest supplement. Local rep and Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin Oisin O’ Connell said that his organisation had very real fears that newly unemployed mortgage holders could face up to eighteen months of ‘personal hell and financial torment’ waiting for state help.

Mr O’ Connell said;

“The changes in the allocation of the Mortgage Interest Supplement will increase the likelihood of mortgage arrears and heighten the possibility of repossessions. It makes no sense that this is the government’s response to the mortgage catastrophe, something which our Taoiseach has often described as the biggest crisis facing the Irish people.”

Up until the end of June the Mortgage Interest Supplement provided all unemployed mortgage holders who met the criteria with all or part of their mortgage interest paid by the Department of Social Welfare for a year after they lost their job. Under the new rules, mortgage holders will first have to approach their banks or building society and negotiate a restructuring of their mortgage. The restructuring plan will have to be in place for 12 months before they can even apply to the Department of Social Welfare for the mortgage interest supplement.

“Realistically it could take a newly unemployed person up to six months to set up a restructuring plan with their financial provider,” Mr O’ Connell said, “This will be followed with a year-long waiting period during which time the mortgage holder will be put through the most callous financial torment imaginable. It will be a year of personal hell for these people and their families.”

“Worse of all, at the end of this year of misery the borrower will have to approach the Department of Social Protection and apply for Mortgage Interest Supplement. It could take months before a department official decides whether the person is entitled to mortgage relief.”

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