As well as Scottish Child Payment, you may be able to get other benefits to help towards the costs of supporting your family. This includes Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.
Best Start Grant
Best Start Grant is made up of 3 cash payments. Each payment can only be paid once per child. The 3 Best Start Grant payments are:
1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment
This is a payment of either £300 or £600 to help towards the costs of pregnancy or looking after a baby. You can apply from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old. This goes up to 1 if you've taken over looking after a child, such as if you've adopted.
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.
If your baby was stillborn, or your baby died after they were born, you can apply up to 6 months after their birth date. If you have taken over looking after a child, you can apply up to 12 months after their birth date.
You can only apply for Scottish Child Payment after a baby is born. This means if you or your partner are currently pregnant, you'll need to apply for Scottish Child Payment when the baby is born.
In most cases, your baby needs to be aged under 6 months old for you to get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment. If you took over looking after a child, the age limit would be 1 year old. If you could not apply within that time frame due to the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can still apply. Social Security Scotland will consider your form.
2. Early Learning Payment
This is a payment of £250 for each child aged between 2 years old and 3 years 6 months old. You can spend the money on any of the things you need for your child at this age. This includes toys to help them learn, or trips to new places.
In most cases, your child needs to be aged between 2 years and 3 years and 6 months old for you to get the Early Learning Payment. If you could not apply within that time frame due to the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can still apply. Social Security Scotland will consider your form.
3. School Age Payment
This is a payment of £250 for each child you can get the payment for. When you need to apply for the School Age Payment depends 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||Last date for applications was 29 February 2020|
|Between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016||Between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021|
|Between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2017||Between 1 June 2021 and 28 February 2022|
You cannot apply before or after these dates.
You cannot apply for the School Age Payment for a child born before 1 March 2014.
Best Start Foods
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods. You can use the card in shops and online.
You can apply for Best Start Foods when you're pregnant, or any time up to your child turning 3 years old. The payments of Best Start Foods are:
- £18 every 4 weeks during pregnancy
- £36 every 4 weeks from your child being born, up until they're 1 year old
- £18 every 4 weeks when your child is aged between 1 and 3 years old
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 £610 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 £16,190 per year
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit – your income from working must be less than £7,320 per year
- Housing Benefit – you and your partner's joint income from working must be less than £311 a week
You can apply for these benefits at the same time as you apply for Scottish Child Payment. Using the same form to apply for all 3 will not affect whether or not you can get any of the benefits. Social Security Scotland just need to ask you a few extra questions in your application.
If you'd prefer, you can apply for Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods separately.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you might have to submit a form for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods after the age limit on payments has passed. For example, the age limit for the Early Learning Payment is 3 years and 6 months old. If your form is submitted after the age limit for a payment, let Social Security Scotland know by telling them in the 'If you think there's anything else we need to know' box at the end of the application form. You do not need to explain in detail, just tell them it's late due to coronavirus. If, when applying, you get any warning that your application is late, ignore the warning and select 'continue with my application'.
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