Help to Save: Thousands of benefit claimants missing out on saving scheme
If you’re claiming benefits, including Universal Credit, then you could be missing out on using the government's Help to Save scheme.
The Help to Save scheme, which launched in September 2018, gives you 50p for every £1 you save, up to a maximum bonus of £1,200 over four years.
However, only one in 27 of those eligible have applied so far, and of the 132,000 accounts already opened, 32,000 have yet to have any money paid in.
Who is eligible for the Help to Save scheme?
This account is only available to those on tax credits, or to Universal Credit claimants who are earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week (£569.22 a month) at the national living wage.
You can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for four years from the opening date. Savers also get a 50 per cent tax-free bonus on the highest balance they’ve achieved after two years.
If you then continue saving you could get another 50 per cent tax-free bonus after another two years.
Those taking part in this scheme can also withdraw cash from the Help to Save penalty free, although doing so may impact the bonus they earn on their savings.
How can I apply for Help to Save?
If you’re eligible to apply for the Help to Save scheme, then you can apply for an account via Gov.uk.
You need a government gateway user ID and password in order to do so, but you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.