An interim report, released on Tuesday, on the impact of the benefit, which sees eligible families given £20 per week for every child under the age of six years old, found the payment was helping to “ease financial pressure” on families.
The Scottish Government has already doubled the benefit from £10 in April and will further increase the amount to £25, while also expanding eligibility to all children under 16.
The interim report, compiled by the Scottish Government with Ipsos research, used a combination of officials statistics and qualitative interviews of 39 recipients and ten third sector representatives.
“Scottish Child Payment has also helped to reduce financial pressure on households,” the report said.
“People who use payments for essential household items such as food or bills feel its impact keenly, and say they depend on the money to avoid getting into debt.
“There is also testimony from individual recipients that, before receiving the benefit, they had to rely on food parcels or would sometimes have skipped meals to ensure their child(ren) could eat.
“Some recipients also feel that without Scottish Child Payment, they might be forced to use food banks.”
The child payment, the report said, has also improved the health and wellbeing of families in receipt of it, including by helping them feel “less guilt or embarrassment at not being able to afford things for their children”.
Children have also been able to eat more and better food as a result of the payment, or able to take part in activities such as swimming or gymnastics to improve their overall health and wellbeing, the report said.
“Important as we take forward plans to further increase its value to £25pw and roll out to children up to 16 years old.”
The research also highlighted some issues with understanding of eligibility, with representatives of charities saying some parents don’t know the benefit will stop when their child turns six.
One of the parents interviewed experienced the end of the benefit, something the report claimed was a “stressful and disappointing experience”.