Mortgage affordability and benefits

This information applies to England and Wales.

If your income consists solely of benefits, it will be difficult to secure a mortgage. You must pass strict Mortgage Affordability Tests when you apply. Your lender will also assess how vulnerable you are to income shocks, such as a rise in interest rates.

Home Ownership for People with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)

HOLD is not a separate product but is a route into shared ownership. It’s available in England only. You can only apply for the HOLD scheme if other shared ownership schemes do not suit your needs.

Affordable home ownership schemes (GOV.UK)

You must meet the agency’s general eligibility criteria:

  • You will need to be a first-time buyer or be defined as being in housing need.
  • Your household income is £80,000 a year or less outside of London or £90,000 a year or less in London.
  • You must not have any outstanding credit issues, such as County Court judgements.

There are only a few lenders offering mortgages for this scheme.

My Safe Home has an easy read guide about shared ownership for disabled people.

Mortgages things to consider

Choosing a mortgage

A lot depends on how much you want to borrow and how long you want to borrow for.

The best way to find out if there is suitable mortgage product for you is to talk to a mortgage broker. The broker will search the market for you to find a product which is suitable for your circumstances.

Find local independent financial advice from:

Check your credit report before applying for mortgages. Make sure there are no issues with your credit file. It will also give you an idea of your credit score. There are some organisations offering free credit reports.

Usually the higher the lending risk, the more expensive the mortgage. The interest rate and arrangement fees could be higher too. You should always get independent financial advice before taking on a mortgage.

Getting a mortgage if you're ill or disabled (MoneyHelper)

Income from children's benefits

Lenders will generally not consider any income from benefits you get as a carer for children. This can include Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credit and the child element of Universal Credit.

Council right to buy

The lender will still assess affordability. It’s unlikely that you will get a mortgage for this if your income is solely made up of benefits.

Right to buy or acquire your home


The chances of getting a mortgage when your income consists solely of benefits are very low. The maximum loan to value available to people on benefits is usually 75% of the purchase price or value of the property.

If you have a partner who is working or you are also working, lenders will consider your benefits as part of the household income. Lenders may consider Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Support Group awards of at least 3 years. This varies from lender to lender.

Extra costs of home buying

You’ll need to think about a deposit and cover extra costs of home buying, such as legal fees, stamp duty and insurances.

Life insurance can be a problem and it’s essential when taking on a mortgage. You may have difficulties finding affordable cover when you have pre-existing conditions. You may need to contact several insurers to find a suitable product.

Search the British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA) website for brokers.

As a homeowner you will be responsible for the maintenance and repairs to your home. These costs can be considerable so plan for unexpected costs, such as your boiler breaking down or the roof leaking.

Budgeting tips

Last reviewed by Scope on: 24/11/2023

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