Welfare Benefits – Hints and Tips: Help to Save Account
By Karen Dunn, Specialist Welfare Advisor, SNSCAB & Sharon Sharman, Learning and Evaluation Manager, VOICES
Help to Save is a new savings scheme for people on low incomes who are claiming certain benefits. Help to Save gives you a bonus payment from the government of up to 50% (half) on savings paid into the account.
How it works
- 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.
- You get bonuses at the end of the second and fourth years. They’re based on how much you’ve saved. You can save up to £50 each calendar month.
- Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure.
What You Need to Apply
- Government Gateway User ID and password
- Details of your UK bank account.
Eligibility: You can open a Help to Save Account if you are:
- entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit payments
- claiming Universal Credit and your household income in your last monthly assessment period was £542.88* or more
- living in the UK: if you live overseas, you can apply for an account if you’re either a Crown Servant, their spouse or civil partner or a member of the British Armed Forces, their spouse or partner
*Payments from Universal Credit do not count as part of your household income
Hint and Tip: Customers in receipt of the enhanced rate daily living and mobility components of PIP may be eligible for this account as these benefits are not paid as part of the Universal Credit Claim – example calculation:
Current rates for these benefits are £85.60 a week daily living £59.75 a week mobility: paid 4 weekly = £581.40; Universal Credit works on a calendar month assessment period (AP) – the approximate PIP income for the same period is £631.58 which is above the eligibility threshold.
VOICES has found that, for several of our customers, it can be a long process – often involving appeals – before customers are awarded these elements of PIP, meaning that it is not uncommon for substantial back payments when it is awarded. This type of account could be a valuable option to individuals who wish to put aside some of this payment for future needs…such as moving into own tenancy / starting employment etc.