Best Start Grant

Last updated: 29 April 2019

Best Start Grant is 2 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 2 one-off cash payments:

  1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  2. Early Learning 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.

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

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.

The only time you might not need to get any payments or benefits is if you're 18 or 19 and all these things apply to you:

  • you're going to school or college for at least 12 hours a week - this does not include university
  • you started your course before you were 19
  • if you're on a training course, it's a training course that is not arranged by someone you work for
  • your parent or carer gets Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit or Universal Credit child payments for you

If these things apply to you, you'll need to send proof of the course you're on, such as a letter from your school or college. This will need to show:

  • the name of your school or college, or the name of the place that provides your training
  • the name of your course
  • your course's start and end dates
  • your full name

Your parent or carer can apply if you do not. When they apply, they'll need to give us your details, but they do not need to send any proof of the course you're on. They only need to be getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit for you.

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

You can apply 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 for you
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 birth mother of a child.

Fathers and partners

If you're living with the birth mother, you can apply if the two of you are a couple, married or civil partners.

If you're not living with the birth mother, you can apply as long as you get a benefit for the child that shows you're the main person looking after them. This means you must be getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, the Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit for the child you want to apply for.

You can apply if either:

  • you're getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, the child addition part of Pension Credit or Universal Credit child payments for the child you want to apply for, or for the child's birth mother
  • you've started looking after a baby under one, such as if you're a kinship carer

You have until your baby's first birthday to apply if you've taken over looking after a baby, such as if you adopt or are a kinship carer.

If you do not get Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, the child addition part of Pension Credit or Universal Credit child payments for the child you want to apply for, you need to have a legal order that shows you've taken over looking after the child. This can be things like an Adoption Order or a Kinship Care Order.

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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