People are only just realising you can get £1,200 on Universal Credit – here's how | The Sun

MILLIONS of people on benefits can get a bumper boost to their savings worth £1,200 – and many are only just realising.

Savers who claim Universal Credit can get a £1,200 bonus to top up their cash pot.

Help to Save is a government-backed scheme for people on benefits including Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.

It was launched in 2018 and gives eligible savers a bonus on top of money put away.

People can earn up to £1,200 through the scheme on top of any cash they put away.

But for many people it went under the radar.

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One user on the Money Saving Expert forum said: “So I must live under a rock and hadn’t heard of this before! I’ve opened an account now.” 

Over on the Mental Health Forum, a user said: “Government have a scheme where you pay in up to £50 a month and get up to £1,200 extra after four years on top of what you have saved.

“I think i have the numbers right, anyone know anymore about this?”

And on the Facebook group Universal Credit and Legacy Benefit advice, a user wrote: "Hi. What is this scheme? How do you apply for this?"

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How does the Help to Save scheme work?

Savers get a 50p bonus for every £1 they put in the account over four years.

You can save up to £50 every month, meaning you can get an extra £25 bonus.

That adds up to £300 in a year and up to £1,200 over the full four years of holding the account.

Bonuses are awarded at the end of the second and fourth years of having the account.

You don't have to pay in each month if you don't want to or can't afford to, and you can put even just a couple of pounds in – it doesn;t have to be the maximum.

Account holders can also withdraw month whenever they like  – though this will impact the bonus recieved.

You can save money in the account through a debit card, standing order or bank transfer.

The account will automatically close four years after you open it. And you can’t apply for another one.

Anyone who closes the account before the four years are up, will miss the next bonus. Plus you won't be able to reopen the account.

Who is eligible for a Help to Save account?

You can open a Help to Save account if :

  • You are receiving Working Tax Credit
  • You are entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit
  • You are claiming Universal Credit and you – with your partner if it’s a joint claim – earned £722.45 or more from paid work in your last monthly assessment period

If you get payments as a couple, you and your partner can apply for your own Help to Save accounts and will need to apply individually.

In most cases you will need to be living in the UK, except for a crown servant or their spouse or civil partner or member of the British armed forces or their spouse or civil partner.

You can keep your Help to Save account even if you stop claiming benefits during the four years it is open.

If you or your partner have £6,000 or less in personal savings, including in your Help to Save account, this will not affect how much Universal Credit you get.

How can I apply for a Help to Save account?

You can apply online for an account through the government website.

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You need a Government Gateway user ID and password to open an account, which you can create one as part of your application if you don’t already have one.

You’ll be asked for your UK bank details so make sure you have them to hand.

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