What evidence of savings will Centrelink require when assessing my claim for the Matched Savings Payment?
Evidence of your savings amounts must be provided by showing Centrelink your bank statements, deposit book or passbook. Your savings must be in an account held with a financial institution. If you have a joint account with someone else, only one of you can receive a Matched Savings Payment for the money in that account.
How will Centrelink work out how much savings I have?
Centrelink will look at the amount you had in your bank account at the start of your savings period and compare this with the amount you have at the end of your savings period. For example, if you have $120 in your bank account at the start of your savings period, and have $450 in your bank account at the end of the savings period, Centrelink will subtract $120 from $450 to work out how much you can be paid. In this example your savings amount would be $330, and this is the amount Centrelink could give you in a Matched Savings Payment.
What is the qualifying savings period?
The qualifying savings period refers to the period of time you must save before your savings amount can be matched by Centrelink. Under the Matched Savings scheme, you must save for 13 weeks or more. Your savings period can start when you register for your approved money management course, or it can be a date after this.
Is there a limit on how long I can save before I can claim the Matched Savings Payment?
No, there is no maximum length of time you can save. As long as you save for 13 weeks or more, you can decide how long you wait before claiming the Matched Savings Payment. Remember, you need to be making regular savings deposits into your account. You will only be able to receive one Matched Savings Payment so it is a good idea to wait until you have saved as much as you can towards your savings goal.
What are considered to be regular savings deposits?
Regular savings deposits are amounts deposited into your account that show a pattern of frequency – that could be consistent weekly deposits, fortnightly deposits or even amounts deposited each month. No more than half of the money you save for the Matched Savings Payment can be saved in the last six weeks of your qualifying savings period. This means you cannot save a very small amount (or nothing at all) for the first half of the period and then put all your money into the bank at the end.
Can I save my money at home and then put it in the bank just before I claim the Matched Savings Payment?
No. You must be able to show that your savings have been collected over 13 weeks or more. These amounts need to be in your bank account so that Centrelink can see you have developed a savings pattern. No more than half of the money you save for the Matched Savings Payment can be saved in the last six weeks of your qualifying savings period. This means you cannot save nothing (or a very small amount) for the first half of the period and then put all your money into the bank at the end.
Can Centrelink or another agency help me save this money through the income management services they provide?
Centrelink can help you understand the requirements for the Matched Savings Payment, such as demonstrating a savings pattern. The money management service in your area can also help you with things like developing a budget, savings and understanding credit and loans. Commonwealth Financial Counsellors may be able to help you set up a bank account if you don't have one and want to start saving.
What if I find it hard to save from my non income managed money?
If you want to receive a Matched Savings Payment you must save some money over the minimum 13 week qualifying savings period. If you need help to develop a savings pattern you can speak to your local money management service.
What do I do with my banking records to demonstrate my savings pattern?
You should keep your bank statements safe so that you have them ready when you want to claim the Matched Savings Payment. If you lose your bank statements or haven't received them, you can talk to your bank about how to get new copies.
Can a money management service help me claim the Matched Savings Payment with Centrelink?
Once you have completed your approved money management course the course provider will issue you with a Certificate of Completion. You must take the Certificate of Completion to Centrelink when you claim the Matched Savings Payment. Your local money management service will be able to tell you what documents you need to take to Centrelink when you want to claim the Matched Savings Payment, and can provide support to help you meet your savings goals.
The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide. The information is accurate as at August 2010. If you use this publication after, please check with FaHCSIA that it is correct.