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With the Cost of Living crisis, saving money seems beyond the limits of most, but the government has a scheme offering eligible people some return on their savings, even if there isn’t much to spare.
The UK Government’s Help to Save account will give eligible people £1,200 financial help from the UK Government with a special savings account. The government will DOUBLE any savings you put away over the course of four years – so for every £1 you save, the government will add 50p to the account.
If you live in the UK and claim Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit (and are entitled to Working Tax Credit), you should be eligible for the scheme, or if you claim Universal Credit (if you/you and your partner) with take-home pay of more than £658.64.
You can put up to £50 into your Help to Save account each month, although note that you don’t HAVE to pay money into the account every month; you will then get 50p from the government for every £1 you put in.
You will also get two tax-free bonuses, after two years and again after four years, which will be higher or lower based on how much you’ve saved. Your bonus after two years will be 50 per cent of the highest balance you’ve saved so far, while your bonus after four years will be 50 per cent of the difference between the highest balance you saved in the first two years and the highest in the last two years.
You’ll also get any bonuses you’ve earned, even if you’ve had to take money out of the account. The most you can pay into your account each month is £50, or £2400 over four years. So the most you can earn in four years is £1200 in bonus money. Your bonus is paid into your bank account, not your Help to Save account.
After four years, your Help to Save account will close and you will not be able to reopen it or open another Help to Save account, but you will get to keep any money in your account. You can keep using your Help to Save account even if you stop claiming benefits, providing you met the eligibility criteria at the time you opened the account.
If you get payments as a couple, you and your partner can apply for your own Help to Save accounts. You need to apply separately.
You also need to be living in the UK. If you live overseas, you can apply for an account if you’re either a:
- Crown servant or their spouse or civil partner.
- Member of the British armed forces or their spouse or civil partner.