Savings are counted as any money you can get hold of relatively easily, or financial products that can be sold on. If you live as a couple any money they have in savings or capital is counted as well.
- cash and money in bank or building society accounts, including current accounts that don’t pay interest
- National Savings & Investments savings accounts, and Premium Bonds
- stocks and shares
- your pension pot if you’re currently taking your pension
- property, which isn’t your main home.
Under certain circumstances, other properties you own but don’t live in might be disregarded.
If you’ve recently received money or property and aren’t sure whether it counts as savings, you can report a change in circumstances and ask the DWP.
If you’re writing your will and don’t want the inheritance you leave somebody to affect their benefits, it could be worth seeking professional advice. They might suggest you set up a trust, especially if the person you’re leaving money or assets to is vulnerable. For more information read our guide about using a trust to cut inheritance tax.
Other savings and capital are normally disregarded, including:
- personal possessions, such as jewellery, furniture or a car
- your pension pot if you haven’t started withdrawing from it yet
- value of any pre-paid funeral plans
- life insurance policies that haven't been cashed in
- insurance claims will be ignored for six months if used to replace or repair
- your children’s savings if they’re under £3,000 or in a Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for determining what savings are included or excluded in a benefits claim. This can be based on your personal circumstances. If you’re spending money or giving it to other people to reduce your total savings amount, the DWP might still consider this as part of your savings. The DWP have the final say on what does or doesn’t count towards savings, if in doubt, you can ask for confirmation of their decision in writing.
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If you’re not happy with a benefits decision, you have the right to appeal.
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