School Age payment applications off to best start

13 June 2019

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More than 14,000 applications for Best Start Grant have been received in a week, following the launch of the new School Age Payment.

Social Security Scotland uses a single application process for these payments so families can apply for a number of Best Start Grant Payments in one form. At this early stage, over 9,000 of these were for a School Age Payment.

The payment is for low income families with a child born between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015, who would normally be due to start Primary One this August.

It is part of the Best Start Grant package, and applications for the £250 payment opened on Monday 3 June.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The Best Start Grant will help give children the best possible start in life, and demonstrates our commitment to making Scotland the best place for a child to grow up.

“The response we have had with claims is absolutely exceptional and reflects the difference we can make with our new social security powers.

“Covering the costs of a child starting school puts pressure on family finances, and the new School Age Payment will help ease that burden. It can be used for anything from paying school clubs, helping with travel costs, days out or buying a warm coat. It was lovely to meet parents and children who have benefitted from our new payment to see the difference it is making to their families.”

David Millar, a father of twin boys who are about to start Gracemount Primary School said:

“My boys are so happy to be starting school and this extra money will help pay for uniform, trips and after school clubs which are important for them to build friendships and confidence.”

David Wallace, Chief Executive, Social Security Scotland said:

“This has been a phenomenal response to the launch of a new payment and shows the scale of demand for our new public service.

“A lot of hard work has gone in with clients and stakeholders to encourage take-up of these payments by simplifying the application process and providing a range of channels for people to apply. We will not be complacent though and will continue to promote Best Start Grant through communications and marketing to make sure that everyone who is entitled to this support knows about it and applies.

“The Scottish Government sees social security as people’s human right and it is part of our responsibility to deliver a service that enables people to access and exercise this right.”

Background

  • Parents/carers will be eligible if they live in Scotland and are responsible for a child and receive certain qualifying benefits and tax credits.
  • Qualifying benefits include Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
  • There is no requirement to take up a place at school to be eligible for the payment.
  • Parents who have deferred school entry so their children will start school in August 2020 should still apply in the 3 June 2019 to 29 February 2020 window if their child was born between 1 March 2014 and 28 Feb 2015.
  • Applications can be made online, over the phone or by post.
  • Given the high volume of applications, it may take longer than the standard processing time of 14-21 days for an eligible client to receive a payment.
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