Millions on Universal Credit missing out on free cash worth £1,200 – how to get it | The Sun

MILLIONS of people on Universal Credit could be missing out on a cash worth over a thousand pounds.

A saving scheme specifically designed for those on low incomes and getting certain benefits offers a bonus.

It could help you get your finances in order this new year as the cost of living continues to soar.

The Help to Save account gives you the extra cash on top of your own savings.

For each £1 you set aside into one of these accounts, the government will give you a 50p bonus.

If you save the maximum amount each year, you could earn a bonus of up to £1,200 over the four years you can save, giving your rainy day fund a big boost.

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To get the maximum bonus, you would need to save £2,400 over the same time period – that's £50 per month.

Help to Save is useful for people who can afford to put some money away each month or week, so the scheme isn’t for everyone.

But you can still open one and save as little as a pound here and there to get started.

You don't have to pay in every month and there's no set amount.

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Having some cash put away if you're able to means you'll have something to fall back on in an emergency, for instance a washing machine or car breakdown.

It means you could avoid having to borrow the cash, which would cost you more if you have to pay interest.

Meanwhile the bonus on offer is far better than the interest you'll earn on savings you'll get from a bank right now.

Am I eligible for Help to Save?

Help to Save accounts are available to people who:

  • Receive Working Tax Credit
  • Are entitled to Working Tax Credit and receive Child Tax Credit
  • Claim Universal Credit and you (with your partner if it’s a joint claim) earned £604.56 or more from paid work in your last monthly assessment period

You and your partner can apply for separate Help to Save accounts, but you'll both need to apply individually. 

Savers also need to be living in the UK to be eligible for the scheme.

If you stop claiming benefits you can carry on using your Help to Save account.

How much can I save with Help to Save?

You can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for four years from the date opened.

After two years, savers get a 50% tax-free bonus on the highest balance they’ve achieved.

If you continue saving, you get another 50% tax-free bonus after a further two years – so the fourth year after opening the account.

The most you can earn from your savings in four years is £1,200 in bonus money.

As Help to Save is an easy-access account, you can make withdrawals – but doing this may affect your bonus.

You should also note that if your Help to Save cash pushes you over £6,000 in personal savings, it could affect your eligibility for some benefits.

How do I open a Help to Save account?

You can apply for an account via Gov.uk but you need a government gateway user ID and password.

If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.

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For those who don’t have access to the internet, you can still get an account – just call 0300 322 7093.

Be aware that you’ll be asked to provide your bank details when you apply as the bonus is paid into your bank account rather than into the savings account.

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