Financial Adviser | Can a non-contributor get NHT benefits?
QUESTION: I am not contributing to the National Housing Trust but I receive cash from overseas every two weeks and I need a house this year. How can I apply for the house? What if I can come up with the down payment?
FINANCIAL ADVISER: National Housing Trust (NHT) benefits are for persons who contribute to the Trust.
Contributors to the NHT are persons who earn an income either from self-employment or from working for others. Your receipt of cash from overseas would not qualify you as a contributor to the Trust and thus as a beneficiary.
Although you are not contributing to the NHT, you can still get a benefit if you used to contribute before as those contributions would still count. Overall, you would need to make 52 weekly contributions to qualify but 13 would have to be made in consecutive weeks just prior to applying for the benefit.
Such payments should be made on time, that is, by the 14th of the month following the month to which they apply. For illustration, payments for October should be made by November 14, failing which, a fee for late payment would be incurred.
Although past contributions are refunded after seven years 2007 contributions being refunded in 2015 the receipt of such refunds would not disqualify you from getting a benefit.
The amount of the benefit and term of the loan are based on income and age. Income is important because it bears on ability to pay, while the younger the beneficiary, the longer the time given to repay. Additionally, the maximum age at which a benefit is given is 65 but repayment must be made by age 70.
Should you become employed or self-employed and thus a contributor to the NHT, you would become eligible for a benefit. There are several types: a regular open market loan of $4.5 million, an open market loan of $1.5 million to buy land plus a construction loan of $3 million, a loan of $4.5 million to buy a scheme house, and a Build on Own Land loan of $4.5 million to build on land for which there is a registered title.
Even in the event of a window opening to allow you to apply for a benefit from the NHT, you do not have enough time to earn an NHT benefit to purchase a house this year.
Oran A. Hall, principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers personal financial planning advice and counsel.