15 May 2020 10:31
Sign up to FREE email alerts from BirminghamLive - daily Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email A scheme launched by the government can help you claim a £1,200 savings bonus from the government. The Help to Save scheme was launched to help low-income earners claiming universal credit or working tax credits to save. Help to Save pays a 50% bonus on the amount saved, up to a maximum bonus of £1,200 over four years. MoneySavingExpert.com says of the scheme: "It's a type of savings account specially designed for low-paid workers. On the face of it, it's pretty simple.
You can save between £1 and £50 per month, but you don't have to save every month. At the end of two and four years, you're paid a 50% bonus, maximum £1,200. It's easy access, so you can make withdrawals if you need to." What is the Help to Save scheme? Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years.
Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure. (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto) So, am I eligible? To be eligible for Help to Save, you need to be a UK resident (or posted overseas as a crown servant or with the armed forces) and either: Receiving universal credit and have employment income of £604.56 or more for the last monthly assessment period; or Entitled to working tax credit and receiving working or child tax credit. How does it work? You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month. You do not have to pay money in every month. You can pay money into your Help to Save account by debit card, standing order or bank transfer. You can pay in as many times as you like, but the most you can pay in each calendar month is £50. For example, if you have saved £50 by 8 January you will not be able to pay in again until 1 February. You can only withdraw money from your Help to Save account to your bank account. You can earn 2 tax-free bonuses over 4 years. You'll get any bonuses you've earned even if you withdraw money. After your first 2 years, you'll get a first bonus if you've been using your account to save. This bonus will be 50% of the highest balance you've saved. After 4 years, you'll get a final bonus if you continue to save. This bonus will be 50% of the difference between 2 amounts: the highest balance saved in the last 2 years (years 3 and 4) If your highest balance does not increase, you will not earn a final bonus. The most you can pay into your account each calendar month is £50, which is £2,400 over 4 years. The most you can earn from your savings in 4 years is £1,200 in bonus money. Your bonus is paid into your bank account, not your Help to Save account. Will it affect my benefits? Universal Credit If you or your partner have £6,000 or less in personal savings this will not affect how much Universal Credit you get. Your Help to Save bonuses will not affect your Universal Credit payments. Working Tax Credit Any savings or bonuses you earn through Help to Save will not affect how much Working Tax Credit you get. Housing Benefit If you or your partner have £6,000 or less in personal savings this will not affect how much Housing Benefit you get. This includes any savings in your Help to Save account. Your Help to Save bonuses will not affect your Housing Benefit payments. How do I apply? You can apply through Help to Save on Gov.uk or you can call 0300 322 7093 and the HMRC helpline advisers will help you set up an account. You can open an account up until September 2023. While saving money for the future may well be the last thing on many people's minds at the present time, the circumstances may mean some are able to now access a way to increase savings by 50 percent. Speaking during The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, Mr Lewis explained that this can be done via a Help to Save account - a scheme which some people on low income may be eligible for. He said: "A 50 percent savings boost here for hundreds of thousands of people who weren't eligible before via Help to Save. "Now, Help to Save is a state scheme where you can put in up to £50 a month for two years. READ MORE: Universal Credit UK: Some claimants will receive money early this month