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Best Start Foods if you have no access to public funds

You may be able to get Best Start Foods for your child even if you cannot get certain benefits because of your immigration status. This is also called having no access to public funds.

You can get Best Start Foods if you meet all of these conditions:

  • you’re responsible for at least one child under 3 who’s a British citizen (not including pregnancies)
  • your family income is £660 or less a month after tax
  • you’re not able to claim public funds due to your immigration status

When you apply, you need to tell Social Security Scotland that you’re applying under these conditions.

They’ll ask you to provide some supporting information for each of these conditions.

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can help you buy healthy foods like milk or fruit. Read more about Best Start Foods.

Supporting information

You may need to provide different information depending on your situation. 

Social Security Scotland will usually ask for information on your immigration status, your child’s citizenship and your family income. 

Supporting information may include:

  • a letter from the Home Office with your immigration status
  • a Biometric Residence permit
  • bank statements showing your family income
  • a letter from a supporting organisation
  • your child’s passport or birth certificate

We understand you may not have some of this supporting information or it may be difficult to get. If you need further help, call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.

How to apply

When you apply, you need to tell Social Security Scotland that you have no access to public funds. This is so Social Security Scotland can process your application in the right way.

Examples of what you might tell Social Security Scotland in your application:

  • ‘I have no access to public funds’
  • ‘I am not a British citizen, but my children are British citizens’
  • ‘my immigration status means I cannot get certain benefits’

You can apply over the phone, online or by filling in a paper form.

Apply by phone

If you apply over the phone, tell the member of staff you speak to when you’re making your application.

Call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222 to make your application over the phone. The opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

If you're a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

Apply by post or online

If you apply by post or online, enter this extra information in the ‘If you think there’s something else we need to know’ box at the end of the form. 

There may be some parts of the application form which do not apply if you have no access to public funds. For example, Social Security Scotland may ask you about:

  • a Maternity B1 (MATB1) certificate
  • certain benefits which name your child
  • other documents like legal orders or a letter from your local authority

You will not need to provide this information if you have no access to public funds.

There are some situations where you cannot apply online and will need to apply over the phone or by post. For example, if you do not have a bank account.

Find out more about how to apply by post or online.

Best Start Grant and Scottish Child Payment

The application for Best Start Foods is a joint application with other benefits. You complete one application and apply for either:

  • Best Start Foods and Best Start Grant 
  • Best Start Foods, Best Start Grant and Scottish Child Payment

You would not usually get Best Start Grant or Scottish Child Payment if you have no access to public funds. You should still apply using one of these applications. Social Security Scotland will send you a letter telling you if you can get either of these other benefits. 

If you need extra help

Call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222 if you need extra help. The opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Find other ways you can contact Social Security Scotland.

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