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Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payment to be made automatically

People who receive Scottish Child Payment and qualify for Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age payments will be paid them automatically from this week, without the need to apply for them separately.

Social Security Scotland will notify clients by SMS when they are checking eligibility for the Best Start Grants and, if they are eligible, will write to advise them of the payment.

The move to automatic awards will mean less paperwork for tens of thousands of families and ensure that families automatically receive the support to which they’re entitled.

It builds on work already completed to make applying for our five family payments as simple as possible.

It includes the ability to apply for all children in a household on a single form.

Minister for Social Security, Ben Macpherson said:

"Our extension to the Scottish Child Payment and its increase to £25 per child per week has been widely welcomed and will make a significant difference to families across the country. The increase represents a rise of 150% in just eight months.

“The increase and extension was described as a watershed moment in tackling child poverty by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and already people have applied in their tens of thousands.

“Tackling child poverty is a key mission for the Scottish Government and automating payments, where we have the information we need to do so, will mean parents and carers automatically getting the financial support they are eligible for paid directly to them.

“We are committed to making sure that receiving our five family payments is as straightforward as possible, using our limited social security powers and resources to help”.

CEO of One Parent Families Scotland, Satwat Rehman said

“We are delighted that Social Security Scotland have made changes so that parents who have applied for and receive Scottish Child Payment will no longer have to fill out separate forms to receive other family benefits.

“Many of the single parents we support are not aware of the financial support available to them and would therefore be at risk of losing out. We hope the change to automatic payments will lead to an increase in the number of families accessing benefits they are entitled to and will ease the financial and mental strain of the cost-of-living crisis.”

Background

  • Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and Best Start Grant School Age Payment are part of a package of five family payments. This package also includes Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Foods and Scottish Child Payment. The Scottish Government’s package of five family payments for low-income families is worth up to a maximum of over £10,000 by the time a family’s first child turns 6, and £9,700 for second and subsequent children
  • Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment provides £267.65 per child to support child development, for example travel costs, trips out and toys for home learning
  • The School Age Payment provides £267.65 per child to help with the costs of preparing for school, for example educational toys or after school activities. Eligibility is based on the child’s age and relates to when a child is first old enough to start school. The application window runs from 1 June until the last day in February the following year. There is no requirement to take up a place at school to qualify for a payment
  • In 2022-23 we expect 59,000 households will receive £20 million of support through Best Start Grant (Scottish Fiscal Commission report published May 2022). With projected take up rates of 76% for Pregnancy and Baby first births, 77% for Pregnancy and Baby subsequent births, 90% for Early Learning Payment and 90% for School Age Payment
  • The Scottish Fiscal Commission (report published May 2022) has forecast that 30,000 people will receive the Early Learning Payment and 22,000 people will receive the School Age Payment during the 2022-23 financial year
  • Eligible families, and carers can find out more and apply at mygov.scot/beststart or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222
  • People can find out more about Scottish Child Payment and the other five family payments at mygov.scot/fivefamilypayments

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