The past 12 months hasn't been easy for most people when it comes to money, financial worries and job prospects, but Universal Credit has been a saviour for many.
Universal Credit is designed to help those who are out of work or who are on a low income.
However, with the country currently experiencing another lockdown and no idea when things will go back to 'normal', it's understandable that many are panicking about their financial situations.
It may not feel like the easiest time to start saving, but thanks to a new government scheme, certain people can now do so with the promise of a bonus.
What is Help to Save?
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.
How do payments work?
Those eligible for Help to Save can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month, but 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.
How Universal Credit and other benefits are changing in 2021 as confirmed by the DWP
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.
How do bonuses work?
Those with a Help to Save account can get bonuses at the end of the second and fourth years. They’re based on how much you’ve saved.
What happens after four years?
Your Help to Save account will close four years after you open it.
You will not be able to reopen it or open another Help to Save account. You’ll be able to keep the money from your account.
You can close your account at any time. If you close your account early you’ll miss your next bonus and you will not be able to open another one.
Who is eligible for Help to Save?
You must be a Universal Credit claimant who has earned £604.56 or more from paid work in their last monthly assessment period to be entitled to Help to Save.
Others who can access Help to Save include those receiving Working Tax Credit, and those entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit.
You also need to be living in the UK to apply for a Help to Save account.
The good news is that those who stop claiming benefits can still keep using their Help to Save account for their savings journey.
How to apply for Help to Save
You need a Government Gateway user ID and password to apply. If you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you apply.
You’ll be asked to provide your UK bank details when you apply.
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