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Best Start Grants Scotland

Read our guide to the Best Start Grants Scotland

1. What is a Best Start Grant?

Applies to: Scotland

The Best Start Grant is a set of grants offered to support people living in Scotland to help with the expenses of having a young child.

The Best Start Grant is made up of a Pregnancy and Baby Payment, an Early Learning Payment and a School Age Payment.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant for people who live in Scotland.

The rules on who qualifies for a Pregnancy and Baby Payment are different from the rules on the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

The Best Start Grants are grants. You will not have to pay them back. They will not affect your other benefits.

They are intended to cover the costs of having a new baby or a young child. However, there are no rules on how you decide to spend the money.

If you do not live in Scotland, you will not be able to claim a Pregnancy and Baby Payment. You might, however, be able to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant. There is no equivalent of the Early Learning Payment or School Age Payment for people who do not live in Scotland.

2. Can I get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment?

Applies to: Scotland

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment even if you already have other children.

You can get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if:

  • You live in Scotland; and
  • You are receiving any of these benefits
    • Universal Credit; or
    • Child Tax Credit; or
    • Working Tax Credit; or
    • Income Support; or
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA); or
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); or
    • Housing Benefit.

If you are 18 or 19 and still in relevant education, and someone is getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the Child Element of Universal Credit for you, you might be able to get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment even if you aren’t receiving any benefits.

To claim a Pregnancy and Baby Payment you also need to be 

  • The baby’s birth mother and more than 24 weeks pregnant; or

  • The parent (or partner of the parent) of a child under 6 months old who you are responsible for; or

  • Getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit or the Child element of Universal Credit for a baby under 6 months old; or

  • The adoptive parent or kinship carer of a child under the age of 1, and you are either getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit or the Child element of Universal Credit, or you have a court order that shows you are responsible for the child.

If your child was stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy or if your child has died, you can still get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

In most cases, you cannot get a Pregnancy and Baby Payment if someone else has already had one for the same child. There are exceptions to this if the child does not usually live with the person who received the payment for him/her. If this is the case for you, you should speak to an adviser.

3. How much Pregnancy and Baby Payment will I get?

Applies to: Scotland

If you are awarded a Pregnancy and Baby Payment and this is the first child in your household, you will get a grant of £600.

If you are awarded a Pregnancy and Baby Payment and you already have one or more children, you will get a grant of £300.

If you have a multiple birth (like twins or triplets), you will get an additional grant of £300 on top of the grant that you get for each child to help you with the extra costs.

For example: If you already have one child, and then have twins, you will be awarded £300 for each of the new babies (because they are your second and third child) and an additional £300 for the cost of a multiple birth, so in total you will get £900. 
 

4. Can I get an Early Learning Payment?

Applies to: Scotland

You can get an Early Learning Payment if:

  • You live in Scotland; and
  • You are receiving any of these benefits
    • Universal Credit; or
    • Child Tax Credit; or
    • Working Tax Credit; or
    • Income Support; or
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA); or
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); or
    • Housing Benefit

If you are 18 or 19 and still in relevant education, and someone is getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the Child Element of Universal Credit for you, you might be able to get an Early Learning Payment even if you aren’t receiving any benefits.

To claim an Early Learning Payment you also have to be:

  • Responsible (or the partner of someone who is responsible) for a child aged between 2 years old and 3 years and six months old.

In most cases, you cannot get an Early Learning Payment if someone else has already had one for the same child. There are exceptions to this if the child does not usually live with the person who received the payment for him/her. If this is the case for you, you should speak to an adviser.
 

5. How much Early Learning Payment will I get?

Applies to: Scotland

If you are entitled to an Early Learning Payment, you will get £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

6. Can I get a School Age Payment?

Applies to: Scotland

You can get a School Age Payment if:

  • You live in Scotland; and
  • You are receiving any of these benefits
    • Universal Credit; or
    • Child Tax Credit; or
    • Working Tax Credit; or
    • Income Support; or
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA); or
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); or
    • Housing Benefit

If you are 18 or 19 and still in relevant education, and someone is getting Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the Child Element of Universal Credit for you, you might be able to get a School Age Payment even if you aren’t receiving any benefits.

You also have to be: 

  • Responsible (or the partner of someone who is responsible) for a child who is due to start school this year. 
    • You should apply for the School Age Payment in the year your child is supposed to start school even if you decide to defer them starting school.

In most cases, you cannot get a School Age Payment if someone else has already had one for the same child. There are exceptions to this if the child does not usually live with the person who received the payment for him/her. If this is the case for you, you should speak to an adviser.
 

7. How much School Age Payment will I get?

Applies to: Scotland

If you are entitled to a School Age Payment, you will get £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

8. How do I claim a Best Start Grant?

Applies to: Scotland

You can claim a Best Start Grant online on the mygov.scot website.

You can also make a claim over the phone on 0800 182 2222.

If you are claiming a Pregnancy and Baby payment and an Early Learning Payment because you have children who are the right age for both of these grants you only need to fill the form in once.
 

9. How do I challenge a Best Start Grant decision?

Applies to: Scotland

If you don’t agree with the decision made on your claim for a Best Start Grant, you can ask Social Security Scotland to look again at the decision. This is called a ‘redetermination’. The letter telling you about the decision should explain how to ask for a redetermination. You need to ask for a redetermination within 31 days of the decision, though if you have a good reason for missing this deadline it can sometimes be extended to up to one year. If you are asking for a redetermination late, you should explain on your form why it is late.

If Social Security Scotland does the redetermination and you still don’t agree with their decision, you can appeal to a first-tier tribunal. You have 31 days from the date of the redetermination to ask for an appeal but this can be extended if you have a good reason for missing the deadline. You should be sent the form to request an appeal with the letter telling you the decision on the redetermination. If your appeal is late, you should explain on the form why it is late.