Job Start Payment

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

What is Job Start Payment

Job Start Payment is a payment to help young people in Scotland who are on certain benefits to meet the costs of starting a new job - for example, travel and clothing costs.

Job Start Payment is paid by Social Security Scotland. You don’t have to pay it back.

How much is it

Job Start Payment is a one-off payment of £314.45 or £503.10. The higher rate is paid if you're responsible for a child.

Can you get Job Start Payment

You can get Job Start Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you're 16 to 24 years old or a care leaver aged 16 to 25

  • you've been out of paid work and getting certain benefits

  • you've been offered paid work that is for at least 12 hours a week

  • you live in Scotland.

What counts as paid work

To get Job Start Payment, you must have been offered a job on or after 17 August 2020. It must be paid work that will be for 12 hours or more a week. Paid work can include a modern or graduate apprenticeship and self-employment.

Your job doesn't have to be permanent or last for a minimum length of time for you to get Job Start Payment. So it can, for example, include seasonal work.

If the hours of the job vary from week to week, the average should be 12 hours or more over a 4-week period.

There are no restrictions on having more than 1 job, but one of the jobs must be for at least 12 hours a week. This means that 2 jobs that together add up to 12 hours don't count for Job Start Payment.

Which benefits do you need to be getting

To qualify for Job Start Payment, you must have been out of work and getting 1 of these benefits:

  • Universal Credit (UC)

  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

  • Income Support

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You usually need to have been getting the benefit for 6 months before your job offer.

If you're a care leaver, the 6-month rule doesn't apply and you only need to have been out of work and getting the benefit on the date of your job offer.

16- and 17-year-olds

If you’re 16 or 17 years old, you might not be able to claim one of the qualifying benefits until you’re 18. If this is the case, you won't qualify for Job Start Payment.

Some 16- and 17-year-olds can claim these benefits - for example, if you’re responsible for a child or you have to live away from your parents because you're estranged from them.

An adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau can check that you’re getting the benefits and financial help you’re entitled to. Find out how you can get advice.

Care leavers

If you’re a care leaver, you can apply for Job Start Payment up to your 26th birthday. You’ll only have to be out of paid work and getting a qualifying benefit on the date of your job offer to be eligible. This means that you won’t need to have been receiving the benefit for the previous 6 months.

You're a care leaver if you've spent time in care in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland but this care stopped on or after your 16th birthday. Care can include a foster, residential, secure or formal kinship care placement.

Rules about living in Scotland

To get Job Start Payment, you must have been living in Scotland on the day the job offer was made.

Social Security Scotland will use your qualifying benefit record to check your address. If it can’t be confirmed this way, you might be asked to provide evidence of your address, for example by providing a fuel or council tax bill.

Location of the job

There are no restrictions on the location of the job. This means it could be anywhere in the UK, or with a company based abroad or a UK company with sites abroad.

If your job will involve you living away from Scotland, you can still apply for a Job Start Payment as long as you were living in Scotland on the day the job offer was made.

When to apply

You can apply for a Job Start Payment from the date you are offered the job until 6 months afterwards.

How to apply for Job Start Payment

You can apply:

  • online – at

  • by phone or face to face– call 0800 182 2222 freephone to speak to a Social Security Scotland adviser

  • by post – download a form from or request a paper copy by phone. You can ask Social Security Scotland to send you a pre-paid envelope.

If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

You can get help to apply and advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Once you’ve applied, you’ll receive a free text message or email to let you know that your application has been received.

If Social Security Scotland need any more evidence, they'll send you a letter to ask for this. They'll send you a reminder if they don’t hear from you by the date requested.

You’ll receive email updates on the progress of your claim.

A decision will be sent to you by post.

Help to apply from Social Security Scotland

You can get help to apply for Scottish benefits from Social Security Scotland's local delivery service. Phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 to make an appointment.

You could arrange:

  • a home visit

  • a video or phone call

  • a meeting in a local community centre.

A client support adviser can go through the application with you. They'll answer questions about the application and help you with any supporting information you need to provide.

You can also fill in a form to authorise someone to speak to Social Security Scotland on your behalf. This might be helpful if you feel unable to find the information you need or understand things about your application. You can download a third-party authorisation form on

Getting an advocate if you're disabled

If you're disabled or have a mental health condition, you can get help with Scottish benefits from the Independent Advocacy Service. The service is provided by VoiceAbility.

An advocate can help you to:

  • express your views

  • get information

  • make decisions.

They can help you at any time, from making your first application to challenging a decision that you don't agree with.

You can get an advocate by:

You won't be eligible for the service if you already have someone acting for you, such as an appointee or someone with power of attorney.

Sending evidence

When you apply for Job Start Payment, you’ll be asked to provide evidence of your job offer. This can be:

  • a letter

  • your contract

  • an email

  • a screenshot of a text or digital message

  • a screenshot of your job offer from a job search website

  • a signed, hand-written note.

If your job offer was made over the phone, ask your employer if they can give you written confirmation of the job. Photocopies, scans and screenshots of the job offer will be accepted.

If you're self-employed, you can send evidence of an offer of work or a contract.

You can upload this evidence when you make the claim online, or it can be posted.

Find out more about sending confirmation of your job offer on

If you have a child

If you're the main carer of a child and your application for Job Start Payment is successful, you'll receive the higher rate of £503.10.

When you apply for Job Start Payment, you’ll be asked to provide evidence that you have responsibility for a child. For example, you’ll be asked to provide details of any benefits that you receive for them, such as Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit (child element).

If you don't get any of these benefits, you might have to send a legal order, such as an Adoption Order, Kinship Care Order, or any other legal order that says you're the child's main carer.

If you’re a care leaver

You should only be asked for evidence that you’re a care leaver if you:

  • are 25 years old when you were offered the job

  • have been receiving a qualifying benefit for less than 6 months

  • have been out of paid work for less than 6 months.

Social Security Scotland will send you a care leaver's evidence form to ask for any evidence they need to process your application. If you have a letter that covers all the information asked for in the form, you can send that instead. This could be a letter signed by a social worker or other professional that confirms when you left care.

Find out more about sending evidence of your time in care on

Getting a decision

You’ll be sent a letter to tell you if your application has been successful or not. Social Security Scotland aim to make the decision within 21 working days of receiving your application and evidence.

If your application is successful, the money should be paid into your account within a few days of you receiving the decision letter.

If Social Security Scotland decide that you’re not entitled to Job Start Payment, they will send you a letter explaining why.

If you disagree with this decision you can ask for it to be reviewed.

Asking for a review

If you don't agree with the decision about Job Start Payment, you can phone Social Security Scotland to ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a review.

You can ask for a review within 31 calendar days of the original decision. This can be extended up to 12 months if there's a good reason.

A review is a completely new decision on your application, and you can provide additional evidence if you want to.

Social Security Scotland aim to carry out the review within 16 working days. You’ll be sent a new letter to tell you the outcome of the review.

There’s no right of appeal if you still don't agree with the review decision.

How Job Start Payment is paid

Job Start Payment will be paid directly into your chosen bank, building society or credit union account.

If you don’t have an account, you can arrange to get the payment in the same way that you get your other benefits.

Read more about getting a bank account.

What you can spend the money on

The aim of Job Start Payment is to help young people who are out of work to meet the costs of starting a new job. It’s up to you how you spend the money. You won't have to send any receipts. You could use it for things like:

  • travel costs – such as a bus or train pass

  • clothing

  • lunches

  • childcare.

If your job ends

If your job ends after you’ve received a Job Start Payment, you won’t have to pay it back. Your job doesn’t have to be permanent or last for a minimum length of time for you to get Job Start Payment.

Getting more than one Job Start Payment

If you’ve received a Job Start Payment and then become unemployed again, you can apply for another Job Start Payment - but only if it has been at least 2 years since your previous payment.

Tax and other benefits

Job Start Payment won’t affect income tax, other benefits or any council tax reduction that you receive.

More information

You can: