Blog > Medically enhanced equity release – check your eligibility

Medically enhanced equity release – check your eligibility

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By Richard Groom • 20th December 2023 • 5 min read

Do you qualify for enhanced terms?

Written in line with our editorial policy.

Is equity release to access tax-free cash from your property wealth of interest to you? If so, you may qualify for more cash or lower interest rates with an enhanced plan.

For someone aged over 55 owning their own home, equity release can be an important option when it comes to meeting immediate or longer-term financial needs. But many consumers aren’t aware that some providers now offer favourable terms to people with certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors.

Through Equity Release Wise, you can get a free eligibility check. You can request your check below and find out more about how enhanced terms for equity release work.

In this article:

  • Understanding equity release.
  • What is enhanced equity release?
  • Why do some lenders offer enhanced terms?
  • What could qualify me for enhanced terms?
  • How is eligibility for enhanced rates checked?
  • Get your free eligibility check.

Understanding equity release

Equity release is a financial product that allows homeowners aged 55 and above to access the equity tied up in their property without having to sell it. It means you can still stay in the home you love, if for example downsizing is an option that you feel isn’t right for you.

There are two main types of equity release, with the most common being a lifetime mortgage. This is a type of secured loan where you borrow against the value of your home.

You still retain ownership of your home and have the right to live there until you pass away or move into long-term care. At this point your home is sold and the loan plus interest repaid. Any remaining monies from the sale are paid to your beneficiaries in accordance with your will.

Lending criteria differ across lenders, but here are some examples of typical criteria as a guide:

  • You will need to be aged 55 or over and a UK resident.
  • When a couple applies, the youngest applicant on the deeds of the property must be 55 or above.
  • You must own your own home in the UK, and it should typically have a value of £70,000 or more.

Read more: How does equity release work?

If you are under 55, there may still be ways to access the cash you need. These include downsizing, remortgaging and home equity loans. Please see our guide ‘How to release equity if you are under 55’ for more details.

What is enhanced equity release?

Some providers offer medically enhanced equity release where they take your health and lifestyle into account. If you have certain medical conditions or have made certain lifestyle choices, you may be eligible for enhanced terms.

Eligibility for enhanced terms could mean that you can release more tax-free cash from your property compared to a standard plan. This might be in the form of a bigger lump sum payment or a larger drawdown facility to access more money in the future.

It could also mean that you benefit from a lower equity release interest rate than if you weren’t eligible for enhanced terms. Lower interest rates will reduce the overall cost of your lifetime mortgage. This in turn could preserve more of your property’s value for your beneficiaries.

Why do some lenders offer enhanced terms?

Because equity release providers typically get their money back when the borrower passes away, some of them take account of your age and medical condition. The same principle applies to age: the older you are, the more tax-free cash you can release.

Lenders go by the assumption that an older borrower, or one with one or more qualifying health conditions or lifestyle choices, will generally pass away sooner than younger or more healthy people. As a result, the lender will have their loan repaid sooner – and this is what enables them to offer enhanced terms.

What could qualify me for enhanced terms?

To be eligible for enhanced terms, you typically need to meet certain criteria related to your health or lifestyle. In the case of a joint application, it’s the age or lifestyle of the youngest borrower that is of particular interest to the lender.

Factors that lenders might consider include:

  • Serious health conditions, including chronic or terminal illnesses.
  • More common conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • A history of conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, angina and stroke, even if your condition is currently not affecting your day-to-day lifestyle.
  • Being on prescription medication, even if your condition is well-managed.
  • Past or current smoking.
  • Regular alcohol consumption above a certain level.
  • Having a high or low body mass index (BMI) outside of a specified range.

This list is just a summary and please don’t assume that you won’t qualify if your condition isn’t shown here. 

How is eligibility for enhanced rates checked?

Thankfully, the process of checking your eligibility is quite simple and won’t typically add much to normal equity release timescales. For example, lenders won’t typically require medical appointments or examinations. 

Our selected equity release advisers will simply ask you (and your partner if it’s a joint application) simple questions about your medical history and lifestyle. 

Your adviser will then contact providers of enhanced equity release on your behalf to confirm whether you qualify. If you do, they will let you know which plans are available and provide you with details of the best quotes so that you can consider your options.

It will naturally help your adviser if you do a little preparation in advance, such as gathering details of any treatment or medication you have had in the past. But you are of course welcome to get in touch for an initial assessment even if you don’t have this information to hand.

Get your free eligibility check

Through Equity Release Wise, you can get a free medically enhanced equity release eligibility check. All it takes is one phone call and we will arrange for you to talk with one of our selected advisers. 

Call us on 0808 178 3055 and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation appointment from a specialist who will confirm whether you are eligible. If you’re unable to talk now, request a call back and we’ll call when it’s convenient to you.

The initial eligibility check and quotation service is free to use, and you are under no obligation to accept any of the quotes you receive. Only if you proceed with a plan is an adviser fee payable, and your adviser will of course explain this to you in advance.

About Richard Groom. A writer with 20+ years’ experience across several sectors including financial services, Richard has a passion for writing clear and simple content on even the most complex of subjects. In his spare time, Richard loves exploring the hills and mountains of the UK on long walks with his faithful cocker spaniel. Follow Richard on LinkedIn

How can we help?

To find out more about equity release or arrange a consultation with an adviser, please call or request a call back and we’ll be happy to help further.

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