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:
- Pregnancy and Baby Payment
- Early Learning Payment
- 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|
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
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.
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 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.
- 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.
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.