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Job Start Payment

This advice applies to Scotland

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.

It’s paid by Social Security Scotland.

Job Start Payment doesn’t have to be repaid.

How much is it

Job Start Payment is a one-off payment of £250 or £400. The higher rate is paid if you're responsible for a child.

Who can get it

You can get Job Start Payment if you're:

What counts as paid work

To get Job Start Payment you must have been offered 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 four week period.

There aren’t any restrictions on having more than one job but one of the jobs must be for at least 12 hours a week. This means that two jobs that together add up to 12 hours won’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 one 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 six months before your job offer.

If you’re a care leaver, the six 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.

 I6 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’ll be able to 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 six months.

You're a care leaver if you have spent time in care 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 aren’t any restrictions on the location of the job. This means it could be anywhere in the UK as well as with a company based abroad or with 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 three months after.

How to apply for Job Start Payment

You can apply:

  • online – at mygov.scot
  • by phone or face to face – call 0800 182 2222 freephone to speak to a Social Security Scotland adviser 
  • by postdownload a form from mygov.scot or request a paper copy by phone. You can ask Social Security Scotland to send you a pre-paid envelope.

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.

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, a text message or an email from your employer. A photocopy or screenshot of the job offer will also be accepted. If your job offer was made over the phone, ask your employer if they can give you written confirmation of the job.

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 mygov.scot

If you have a child

If you're the main carer of a child and your application for Job Start Payment is successful, you will receive the higher rate of £400.

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

Social Security Scotland will send you a care leavers 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 mygov.scot

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 is 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 it’s 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 can you 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.

What happens 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.

Can you get 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 two years since your previous payment.

Where to get more information

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