Millions of people across the UK have been hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. From being furloughed to needing to claim Universal Credit, many have faced a significant change in their income during this unprecedented time. Amid the crisis, there is a way in which hundreds of thousands of people may now be able to boost their savings – something which Martin Lewis addressed last night.
While saving money for the future may well be the last thing on many people’s minds at the present time, the circumstances may mean some are able to now access a way to increase savings by 50 percent.
Speaking during The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, Mr Lewis explained that this can be done via a Help to Save account – a scheme which some people on low income may be eligible for.
He said: “A 50 percent savings boost here for hundreds of thousands of people who weren’t eligible before via Help to Save.
“Now, Help to Save is a state scheme where you can put in up to £50 a month for two years.
“And, you get a 50 percent bonus on it.”
With savings likely to be something many people may be needing during this difficult time, Mr Lewis explained it is possible to take the money out from the account.
“Now, this is important. The bonus is on the most you’ve had in.
“So let’s say you’ve put in £50 a month. You’ve got £600. You’ve then had to take that £600 out because you needed the money. At the end of two years, even if you’ve got nothing in, you still get 50 percent of the £600 – the highest amount,” he said. “That would be £300 [as a bonus].”
The financial journalist added: “Because, it’s trying to encourage you to have resilience and save.”
He went on to address why so many people are now eligible for this type of account.
“Well, I’m afraid it’s a silver lining to the fact that many more of you are claiming Universal Credit or on low incomes, because that’s the eligibility criteria. Not everyone on Universal Credit, but most of them.”
Pointing out that many people would not be in a position to set aside cash for savings at the moment in time, Mr Lewis suggested opening an account anyway, while they are eligible to do so.
He shared: “So you’ll probably say, ‘Yes, saving, I can’t do that right now.’ Here’s my trick for you – if you’re eligible now, you can open it now.
“You don’t have to put any money in.
“You are then still eligible to use it even when hopefully things return, you’re back in work [and] you’re not on Universal Credit.
“Once it’s opened, you can use it, so you may as well open the facility now for when you’re able to save later. And that helps build our society’s resilience – nifty trick there.”
Help to Save eligibility
A person can open a Help to Save account if any of the following apply:
- They’re receiving Working Tax Credit
- They’re entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit
- They’re claiming Universal Credit and their household earned £604.56 or more from paid work in their last monthly assessment period.
Those who get payments as a couple can apply for their own accounts – and these need to be applied for separately.
Additionally, savers need to be living in the UK.
In the case that a person lives overseas, then they can apply for an account if they’re either a:
- Crown servant or their spouse or civil partner
- Member of the British armed forces or their spouse or civil partner.
The Gov.uk website confirms that even if a person stops claiming benefits, they can continue using the Help to Save account.
The Martin Lewis Money Show Live continues on Thursday on ITV at 8.02pm.
Published at Fri, 15 May 2020 09:26:00 +0000