Help to Save is a type of savings account, for those entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit. Savers get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over a four-year period.
Account holders can put in between £1 and £50 each calendar month, although there is no obligation to pay in every month.
Deposits can be made by debit card, standing order or bank transfer.
People can pay in as many times as they like, but cash can only be withdrawn from the Help to Save account to another bank account. Furthermore, withdrawals could impact the amount of bonus available overall.
Bonuses are paid at the end of the second and fourth years and are based on how much has been saved.
At the end of the four years, the account will close, and an individual can reopen it or start another Help to Save account.
Users can close their account at any point, but if an account is closed early, the next bonus will not be paid.
A person who has closed an account is also not allowed to open another one.
An account holder can earn two tax-free bonuses over four years, and these will be paid even if the individual has withdrawn money.
This means that withdrawing money will make it harder to grow the highest balance and earn the biggest possible bonus.
Taking out funds could also result in not earning the final bonus, depending on how much is withdrawn and when.
Paying in the maximum £50 a month, a saver would accrue £2,400 over the four years, earning a £1,200 bonus.
The bonus is paid into the person’s bank account, not into the Help to Save account.
A person can open a Help to Save account if they are receiving Working Tax Credit, entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit.
Also eligible are those claiming Universal Credit who earned £658.64 or more from paid work in the last monthly assessment period.
Couples can apply, but must do so separately.
Applicants are also required to be a UK resident, although there are some exceptions.
Members of the British armed forces based overseas, or their spouse or civil partner, can also set up an account.
A saver can still keep using their Help to Save account if they stop claiming benefits.
Saving with a Help to Save account can affect a person’s eligibility for certain benefits and how much they receive.
If a person or their partner has £6,000 or less in personal savings their Universal Credit payments will stay the same, including any savings in the Help to Save account.
Help to Save bonuses will not affect Universal Credit payments.
Any savings and bonuses earned through Help to Save will not affect how much Working Tax Credit an individual receives.
If a person or their partner has £6,000 or less in personal savings this will not affect how much Housing Benefit they get.
This includes any savings in their Help to Save account, and the bonuses will not affect Housing Benefit payments.
To apply for the Help to Save scheme, a person needs a Government Gateway user ID and password.
UK bank details will need to be provided along with other details.
This can be set up when an individual applies.