Best Start Grant

Last updated: 14 June 2019

Best Start Grant is 3 cash payments that you can apply for if you're a parent or a carer.

You can get these payments:

  • if you have a child who's the right age for a payment
  • whether you're in work or not, as long as you're on certain payments or tax credits

Best Start Grant

Best Start Grant includes 3 one-off cash payments:

  1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  2. Early Learning Payment
  3. School Age Payment

1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment

You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old. This goes up to 1 year old if you've taken over looking after a child, such as if you've adopted.

You can apply for a child whether they're your first child or not.

If you can get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment for your first child, you'll be paid £600.

You'll be paid £300 for any child that comes after your first, such as your second or third child, or any child after these.

Your first child is your oldest child under 16. This can include a stepchild or a child you've taken over looking after, if you get Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit for them.

If your baby was stillborn, or your baby died after they were born, you can apply up to 6 months after their birth date.

Only if one of the babies is your first child Any other baby in the same birth Your payment to help with the costs of having more than 1 baby, such as twins or triplets
£600 £300 each £300

2. Early Learning Payment

You can apply from your child's second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

If you can get the Early Learning Payment, you'll be paid £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

3. School Age Payment

You can apply for the School Age Payment in the year your child should be starting school.

Exact dates when you must apply depend on when your child was born:

Your child's date of birth When you need to apply
Between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015 Between 3 June 2019 and 29 February 2020
Between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 Between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021

You cannot apply outwith these dates.

If your child was born later than February 2016, you'll be able to apply after May 2021. You cannot apply for the School Age Payment for a child born before 1 March 2014.

If you get the School Age Payment, you'll get £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

If you have children who are the right age for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment, you only need to fill in the online Best Start Grant form once to apply for all these payments.

What affects whether you can apply

If you're over 18, you can apply whether you're in work or not, but you must be getting one of these:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not 'contribution based' JSA
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), not 'contribution based' ESA
Most people who get JSA or ESA get income-based JSA or income-related ESA. If you're getting Child Benefit, you must still be getting one of the benefits or payments on this list to get Best Start Grant.

Your income, or the amount you get of any of these payments or benefits, does not matter. You just need to be getting at least 1 of them.

If you're not getting any of these benefits or payments, but have applied for 1, you can still apply for Best Start Grant.

If you're 18 or 19 and do not get any benefits or payments, you can still apply for Best Start Grant if your parent or carer gets Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit for you. To apply, you'll need to call our free helpline on 0800 182 2222 or download and fill in our paper form. You cannot apply online.

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

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

You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment in one of two ways:

  • apply yourself
  • someone else can apply for you as long as they get Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit

You can apply yourself online, but if your parent or carer applies for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment for you, they'll need to either call our helpline free on 0800 182 2222 or download and fill in our paper form.

Best Start Grant has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland. You can only apply for Best Start Grant if you live in Scotland. If you live somewhere else in the UK, you can apply for the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

Which parent can apply for Best Start Grant

You can apply if you're the main person looking after a child. This includes:

  • the child's birth mother
  • if you're living with the birth mother and the two of you are a couple, married or civil partners
  • single fathers

You can also apply if you've taken over looking after a child, such as if you've adopted or are a kinship carer.

If you, or your partner, get one of these for the child, you can apply:

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

If you do not get any of these, you need to have a legal order that shows you look after the child. The type of legal order you need to have includes things like:

  • a Parental Order
  • a Kinship Care Order
  • an Adoption Order
  • a Compulsory Supervision order
  • a Residence Order
  • a Permanence Order
You cannot apply for a child if they're in residential care or you're their foster carer. This is because it's the role of your local council to provide support.

You and your data

If you want to know more about how Social Security Scotland use your data, you can read the privacy notice about Best Start Grant.

You'll need:

  • your name, date of birth and address
  • if you have a partner, their name and date of birth
  • your bank, credit union or building society account details - you can be paid the Pregnancy and Baby Payment in the same way you're paid for your other benefits if you do not have one of these accounts - if you want to request this call 0800 182 2222 (freephone, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)
  • details of any children you have or care for

Social Security Scotland can contact Baby Box to confirm the details of your pregnancy. If you agree to this, you do not need to contact anyone else, or send any forms or documents. Social Security Scotland will do this for you.

You should also give your National Insurance number when you apply. If you do not give your National Insurance number to Social Security Scotland it could cause a delay.

Find out what you can do if you do not know your National Insurance number.

If you need help to apply, or you'd prefer to apply by phone, you can call 0800 182 2222.

The 10 sections of the form should take about 10-20 minutes to complete.

Apply online now

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