Millions on Universal Credit still missing out on up to £1,200 free cash – how to claim | The Sun

MILLIONS on Universal Credit are still missing out on up to a whopping £1,200 in free cash.

The bank boost comes via the Help to Save scheme which is designed to encourage those on certain benefits to save money.

You can sign up if you're on Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.

The latest figures from HMRC reveal that nearly 450,000 people opened a Help to Save account between September 2018 and March 2023, totalling more than £370million in payments.

But with government data showing there are currently over six million on Universal Credit, that means there's millions on the benefit missing out on the free cash.

It takes just minutes to sign up for an account and you can put as little as a pound in there to get started.

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Plus, there's no set amount you have to put away each month so it is well worth opening one if you've got some spare cash.

How does Help to Save work?

Help to Save is a type of savings account dedicated to those on certain benefits.

Under the scheme, the government gives you 50p for every £1 you save into your account over four years.

You are allowed to save between £1 and £50 each calendar month and pay the money in via standing order or bank transfer.

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You can then withdraw any bonus you've received at the end of the second or fourth year.

If you put the maximum £50 in for the four-year period it means you would get £1,200 in free cash from the government.

Who is eligible?

You can open a Help to Save account if you are receiving:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit – and are entitled to Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit and you (with your partner if it's a joint claim) had take home pay of £722.45 or more in your last monthly assessment period

Take home pay is the amount you receive after tax, insurance and other deductions are removed from your gross monthly salary.

If you are in a couple, you and your partner can apply for separate Help to Save accounts, but you will have to apply individually.

You will also need to be living in the UK to qualify for the scheme.

However, if you live overseas, you can apply for an account if you're either a:

  • Crown servant or their spouse or civil partner
  • member of the British armed forces or their spouse or civil partner

You can also carry on saving into a Help to Save account even if you come off benefits.

How to apply

You can apply for an account on but you'll need a government gateway ID and password.

You can create a user ID when you apply if you don't already have one.

Meanwhile, if you don't have access to a computer or phone with internet connection, you can call 0300 322 7093 to set up an account.

What other help can I get on Universal Credit?

It's not just the Help to Save account which you can use to boost your bank if you're on Universal Credit – the benefit opens up a number of other freebies.

For example, households on Universal Credit and working can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs every month – worth up to £1,630.

Meanwhile, depending on where you live you might be able to apply for a council tax discount and sometimes rebate.

The level of discount available to you varies depending on where you live as each council has its own eligibility criteria.

But, the average council tax bill per home will be £1,578 a year in 2023/24, or £131.50 a month, so you could potentially save a huge amount.

You can also get money towards the cost of food through the Healthy Start Scheme.

If eligible, you receive a prepaid card which is loaded with cash every four weeks and can be used in a number of retailers.

The maximum amount you can receive is £442 a year, but you have to be over 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four to qualify.

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Meanwhile, you can only use the card if you are buying certain products such as plain liquid cow's milk, fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables and vitamins.

You can find out more via

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