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What is the Best Start Grant

This advice applies to Scotland

The Best Start Grant is a package of three new Scottish benefits to help parents and carers on low incomes with the costs of having a child in the family. It replaces the Sure Start Maternity Grant for people living in Scotland.

Coronavirus – more time to apply for the Best Start Grant

If you’ve missed the deadline for applying for any of the Best Start Grant payments because of coronavirus, it won’t matter. You can make a late application.

Social Security Scotland will check your application against your circumstances on the last day that you would normally have been eligible. For example, if you’re applying for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment after your baby has turned six months old, Social Security Scotland will look at your circumstances on the day before your baby turned six months old. It will only do this if your application is late because of coronavirus. 

Contacting Social Security Scotland

If you need to contact Social Security Scotland, you can get in touch by:

  • webchat
  • post
  • phone, but you won’t be able to speak to someone straight away. You can leave a message to get a call back.

Find out how to contact Social Security Scotland on mygov.scot

The Best Start Grant

The Best Start Grant is a package of three different payments: 

  • the Pregnancy and Baby Payment - a one off payment of £600 for a first child or £300 for a second or later child. It can be paid during pregnancy or until the baby is 6 months old in most cases. It could help you pay for maternity clothes, a cot or a pram
  • the Early Learning Payment - a one off payment of £250 if your child is between two and three and a half years old. It could help you pay for day trips, books or toys for home learning
  • the School Age Payment – a one off payment of £250 if your child is around school starting age. It could help you pay for a new school bag, school trips or after school activities.

The three payments are grants not loans, so you don’t have to repay them. You can decide how you want to spend the money.

How does the Best Start Grant affect other benefits

If you get a Best Start Grant payment, it won’t affect any other benefits or tax credits that you get.

Best Start Foods

If you're pregnant or have a child under three, you may be able to get help from the Best Start Foods scheme. This is a benefit to help you buy healthy food for yourself and your children.

You usually need to be getting certain benefits to be eligible. If you're under 18 and pregnant or responsible for a child under one, you can get the benefit whatever your income. 

Best Start Foods has replaced the Healthy Start voucher scheme for people in Scotland.

You can apply to Social Security Scotland for Best Start Foods at the same time as you apply for the Best Start Grant.

Find out more about Best Start Foods.

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