Best Start Grant Scotland: how parents can apply for financial support to help with the cost of school uniforms, shoes and books

The Best Start Grant is made up of three possible payments

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scottish residents to stay safe in her latest briefing on Monday 3 August, alongside reminding the public that financial help is available for those struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sturgeon specifically mentioned the government’s Best Start Grant, when talking about getting children ready to return to school. If you’re pregnant or have kids, the grant could be suitable for you.

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But what is it and who is eligible? Here’s what you need to know.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scottish residents to stay safe in her latest briefing on Monday 3 August, alongside reminding the public that financial help is available for those struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: Shutterstock)

What is the Best Start Grant?

The Best Start Grant is made up of three possible payments, and provides parents or carers who get certain benefits or tax credits with financial support during the key early years of a child's life.

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Who is eligible for the grant?

You can get Best Start Grant:

if your child is the right age for a payment whether you're in work or not, as long as you're on certain payments or benefits as long as you're the parent of a child, or the main person looking after the child

How does payment work?

The Best Start Grant consists of three cash payments. Each payment can only be paid once per child

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The 3 Best Start Grant payments are:

1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment

2. Early Learning Payment

3. School Age Payment

How much will I get for each payment?

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment provides eligible families with £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.

The Early Learning Payment is a £250 payment to help with the costs of early learning, when a child is between two and three and a half years old.

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The School Age Payment is a £250 payment to help with the costs of preparing for school, when a child is old enough to start Primary 1.

Can I apply if I receive other benefits?

If you're under 18, then you do not need to be on any payments or benefits to apply for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods.

However, if you're a parent over 18, you can apply whether you're in work or not, but as long as you're receiving one of these:

Universal Credit Child Tax Credit Working Tax Credit Housing Benefit Income Support Pension Credit Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

It’s also worth noting that you cannot get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods if you only get Child Benefit - you must still be getting one of the benefits or payments above to be able to get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods.

How can I apply?

You can only apply for this grant if you live in Scotland. If you live somewhere else in the UK, then you can apply for the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

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For more information, or to apply to the Best Start Grant, visit the information page.