Do you have a child born between 2002 and 2011? If so, read on – this one’s for you. According to a YouGov poll from earlier this year, millions of children could have money invested into a government scheme that neither they nor their parents have kept track of. This could mean that many, many children aged 8-16 have £1000s waiting to be claimed.
What are Child Trust Funds?
Between 2002 and 2011, a government scheme was run to help kids get a financial head start by offering all parents between £500 and £1,000 to invest into a trust fund. The money was sent out to families in the form of vouchers which could then be deposited into a type of young savings account – a Child Trust Fund. This money was completely tax free and had no impact on a family’s ability to claim benefits. Parents could continue adding money to the fund up to a total of £4,368 per year, with children eligible to access the money once they turn 18.
In many cases, the parents did not deposit their child’s vouchers. Rather than lose the money, this meant that the government set up a Child Trust Fund on their behalf. These people may now be able to find and reclaim the money that was invested by the government back when the scheme was running.
What have YouGov found?
YouGov surveyed a group of parents with children of the relevant age and found that one in six were not aware of the existence of Child Trust Funds. One in eleven said that they had never deposited their child’s vouchers into a savings account, and one in ten couldn’t remember whether they’d deposited the vouchers or not. Of the parents that do remember depositing the money for their children, one in five say that they have now lost track of what happened to it.
That’s a lot of children who potentially have a handy pot of cash waiting for them when they reach 18. YouGov say that it could be as many as 1.75 million of these lost funds. Luckily, lost doesn’t necessarily mean gone forever.
How can you reclaim the cash?
Parents and young people can find out what happened to their Child Trust Fund by completing a government form – access it from this link. After filling out some personal details, you should be able to find out who the provider is and how to access the money. You’ll also be able to find out more information about how the funds worked and how much your child would have been entitled to.
While it isn’t going to provide your kid with a sudden windfall, it will ensure that they start adult life with at least a small pot of savings to use for needs such as education, investments or living costs. Given that so many people are unaware that these funds existed in the first place, we would definitely encourage spreading the word to other parents who may have lost money waiting for them.