Help to Save

25 October 2018

This article was featured in the November 2018 issue of the magazine.

The Help to Save scheme, which is backed by the UK government, launched in September. The scheme allows certain people on low income, who are entitled to working tax credit (WTC) or receiving universal credit (UC), to receive a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save into their Help to Save account over four years. 

The maximum that can be saved each calendar month is £50, but it is not necessary to save every month. Savers can withdraw money from their account to their bank account.

Bonuses, payable into the person’s bank account at the end of the second and fourth years, are based on the amount saved. Those choosing to close their account during the four-year life of the account lose bonus eligibility. 

The bonus after two years will be 50% of the highest balance saved, and the final bonus will be 50% of savings above the highest balance in the first two years. 

As mentioned above, the maximum a person can pay into their account each calendar month is £50, which equates to £2,400 over four years. Accordingly, the maximum bonus is £1,200.

A person can open an account if they are either:

  • entitled to WTC and receiving WTC or child tax credit payments, or

  • claiming UC and their household income in their last monthly assessment period was £542.88 or more. (Payments from UC do not count as part of household income.)

Although generally a person will need to be living in the UK, someone living overseas can apply for an account if they or their spouse or civil partner are either a Crown servant or a member of the British armed forces.

Saving through a Help to Save account could affect a person’s eligibility for certain benefits and how much they will get. If they or their partner have £6,000 or less in personal savings (including any savings in the Help to Save account) this will not affect how much UC or housing benefit they get. Help to Save bonuses will not affect UC or housing benefit payments, and any savings or bonuses through Help to Save will not affect the amount of WTC a person can receive. 

Applications for Help to Save account are made via the person’s Government Gateway account. 

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