How to apply to the Best Start Scheme

Families on low incomes are able to apply to the Scottish Government's Best Start Scheme. 

This scheme inlcudes 2 one-off cash payments. 

  1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment (£300-£600)
  2. Early Learning Payment (£250)

1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment

If you can get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment for your first child, you'll be paid £600.

You'll be paid £300 for any child that comes after your first. You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old. This goes up to 1 year old if you've taken over looking after a child, such as if you've adopted.


2. Early Learning Payment

You can apply from your child's second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

If you can get the Early Learning Payment, you'll be paid £250 for each child you can get the payment for.


What affects whether you can apply

If you're over 18, you can apply whether you're in work or not, but you must be getting one of these:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not 'contribution based' JSA
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), not 'contribution based' ESA

3 ways to apply for the Best Start Grant:

  • apply online now (scroll to bottom of the hyperlinked page and, after the words Apply Online Now, click on 'Start.')
  • by calling 0800 182 2222 (freephone, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) - if you're a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay
  • by filling in a paper form (Printer required. If you don't have one, you can go to your local library to use their computer and printing services). 
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