Millions of Britons missing out on £1,200 bonus – are you eligible for the cash boost?

Martin Lewis gives advice on ‘Help to Save’ government scheme

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As 2022 begins, many families will be looking at ways to save for the year ahead, and ways they can make extra cash. The Help of Save scheme was launched HMRC IN 2018 to help those on low incomes start saving money.

The scheme is available to 3.5 million British people who are claiming Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.

Those entitled can get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over four years.

Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure.

Despite the amount of people claiming benefits, statistics show that only 284,000 Help to Save accounts have been opened to date in November.

This means more than three million people in the UK are walking away from free cash.

People can save between £1 and £50 each month.

For example, if someone has saved £50 by March 14, they will not be able to pay into their account again until April 1.

To receive the maximum £1,200 bonus, someone would need to put away £50 a month for four years.

At the end of year two and year four, people are paid a 50 percent bonus.

It’s deposited into an easy access account, so savers can make withdrawals if they need to – although beware that could impact the overall bonus that’s available.

The total amount saved over the four years would be £2,400, which the Government adds £1,200 to.

UK residents are entitled to open a Help to Save account if they are:
• Receiving Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
• Entitled to Universal Credit and have earned income of at least 16 hours a week at the National Living Wage (from April 1, 2021, this is equivalent to £617.76 a month) in the previous assessment period.

Those people receiving Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit will still receive their benefits while saving with Help to Save.

Most eligible people will be working. However, if someone is now not working due to coronavirus but their partner still is, they may still be eligible.

If people claim Universal Credit jointly and their combined income was above £617.73 in the last assessment period, they both will be able to open a Help to Save account – even if one partner isn’t working currently.

They won’t be able to open a joint Help to Save account – it’s one per eligible person.

Plus, people can still keep saving into the account even if they no longer qualify for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.

They only need to be eligible at the point they open the account.

People can close their accounts at any time but if they do this early, they could miss out on their next bonus and will not be able to open another one.

After four years, the Help to Save account will close. People cannot reopen it once this happens.

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