The government has recently set up a Help to Save scheme for those on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits.
It allows those entitled to the scheme to get an extra 50p per £1 in savings they deposit over 4 years.
So, let’s discuss what you need to know about the Universal Credit Help to Save Account.
You are eligible for a Help To Save account if you’re;
Receiving Working Tax Credit
Claiming Universal Credit and your household earned £569.22 or more from paid work in your previous monthly assessment period.
Entitled to Working Tax Credits and receiving Child Tax Credits.
You’ll need to be living in the UK to apply for the help to save scheme. However, if you live overseas you are able to apply for an account if you’re a Crown Servant or member of the British armed forces.
If You Recieve Payments As A Couple
If you get credit payments as a couple then both you and your partner can apply for your own Help to Save accounts.
However, you both need to apply separately.
If You Stop Claiming Benefits
Then you can still keep using your Help to Save account.
How The Help To Save Scheme Works
The help to save scheme lasts four years, in which you’ll be eligible for two tax-free bonuses.
You’ll recieve the first bonus after two years of having the account. This bonus will be 50% of the highest balance you’ve ever saved.
You’ll recieve the second bonus after four years. Should you continue to save. This bonus will be 50% of the difference between the two amounts;
The highest balance saved in the first two years
The highest balance saved in the last two years.
Therefore if your highest balance does not increase, then you will not recieve the second bonus.
The maximum amount you can pay into your Help To Save account is £50 each calendar month. However, the minimum payment amount starts at just £1.00
Should you save the maximum amount per month of £50.00 every month for the full four year period you’ll have a total of £2,400 in the account.
You’ll then be eligible for the full £1,200 bonus.
Your bonus is paid directly into your bank account, not your Help To Save account.
Your bonus is paid into your bank account, not your Help to Save account.
What Happens If You Withdraw Money
You are able to withdraw money from your Help to Save account at any time.
However, if you do withdraw money from the account it will be much harder for you to grow your balance and therefore earn the largest bonus on offer.
The Impact On Your Benefits
As you’re collating savings, your benefits may be impacted by the amount you save using the Help to Save scheme.
The government website outlines the details in which the Help to Save scheme impacts your benefits and to what extent.
How To Apply For A Help To Save Account
To apply for a Help to Save account you’ll need a Government Gateway ID and password. You should have one of these from claiming your taxes.
If you have that you can begin the application on the gov.uk website here.
Once your application has been approved you’ll be able to login to your account here. From there you can track your progress towards a bonus, withdraw money, see your balance etc.