Information

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Who should apply

Who should apply

You may be able to get Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods if all of the following apply:

  • you live in Scotland
  • you or your partner are getting certain benefits or tax credits
  • you or your partner are pregnant, or are the main person looking after a baby or child who's the right age for a payment

Depending on your situation, there might be some other rules you need to meet to be able to get Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.

When you can apply You may be able to get
As soon as you know you're pregnant, or up until your child turns 3 years old. Best Start Foods
 
You can get Pregnancy and Baby Payment any time after you have reached the end of the 24th week of pregnancy until the day your baby is 6 months old. If your baby is born before 24 weeks, you can apply from this date up to the day your baby is 6 months old. If you've taken over looking after a child, for example, if you've adopted, you can apply up to the day before the child's first birthday. Best Start Grant – Pregnancy and Baby Payment
When your child is aged between 2 years old and 3 years and 6 months old. Best Start Grant – Early Learning Payment
When your child is first old enough to start school.

When you should apply depends on when your child was born. You need to apply in the year that your child is first old enough to start school. See 'School Age Payment' in the 'How it works' section for more information.
Best Start Grant – School Age Payment

 

What affects whether you can apply

If you're under 18, you do not need to be on any payments or benefits to apply for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods.

If you're a parent over 18, you can apply whether you're in work or not, as long as you're getting one of these:

  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit – this is Working Tax Credit with Child Tax Credit for Best Start Foods
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You cannot get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods if you only get Child Benefit. You must still be getting one of the benefits or payments from this list to be able to get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods.

If you're not getting any of these benefits or payments, but have applied for one, you can still apply for Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.

For Best Start Grant, we do not need to know about your income. For Best Start Foods, some of the benefits have an income limit.

If you did not apply for the payment before you turned 18 due to the disruption caused by coronavirus (Covid-19), you should still apply. Leave a note in the 'If you think there's anything else we need to know' box at the end of the application form saying that your application is late due to coronavirus. Social Security Scotland will consider your form.

Best Start Foods and income limits

The benefits you need to be on to get Best Start Foods are the same as Best Start Grant, but some of the benefits have an income limit.

The benefits that have an income limit are:

  • Universal Credit – if you or your partner have a job, your joint income from working must be less than £625 a month, after tax and National Insurance – Universal Credit payments are not counted as part of this
  • Child Tax Credit, if you're not getting Working Tax Credit – you and your partner's joint income from working must be less than £16,480 per year
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit – your income from working must be less than £7,500 per year
  • Housing Benefit – you and your partner's joint income from working must be less than £317 a week

If you're a parent under 18

Best Start Grant

If you're under 18, you do not need to be on any payments or benefits to get Best Start Grant.

Early Learning Payment or School Age Payment

If you're applying for the Early Learning Payment or the School Age Payment, you must apply yourself.

Pregnancy and Baby Payment

You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment yourself.

Someone else can apply for you as long as they are getting any of these for you:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit child payments
  • the child addition part of Pension Credit

Best Start Foods

For Best Start Foods, you do not need to be on any payments or benefits if you're under 18 and your child is under a year old. If your child is over a year old, the rules are the same as they are for a parent who's over 18.

If you're between 16 and 18 years old, you have the same choice when applying for Best Start Foods as you do for Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

If you're under 16, pregnant and want to apply for Best Start Foods, you'll need to get your parent or carer to apply instead.

If your parent or carer applies for Best Start Foods, they'll need to call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222. The opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. They can also download and fill in the paper form. They cannot apply online.

If you're 18 or 19 and do not get benefits

If you're 18 or 19 and do not get any benefits or payments, you can still apply for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods if your parent or carer gets one of these for you:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Child Benefit
  • Universal Credit child payments
  • the child addition part of Pension Credit

To apply, you'll need to call Social Security free on 0800 182 2222. The opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. You can also download and fill in the paper form. You cannot apply online.

How to confirm you're the main person looking after a child

 

To show you're the main person looking after a child, the child must be named on either you or your partner's claim for one of these benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Child Benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit

If you or your partner are kinship carers, you need to have something to show you look after the child. This can be either:

  • a letter from your local council
  • a copy of a legal order

The type of legal order you need to have includes:

  • a Kinship Care Order
  • a Residence Order
  • a Guardianship Order
  • a Parental Order
  • an Adoption Order

You or your partner might have a written kinship care agreement with the local council. This can also be used as supporting information for your application for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods.

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