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Scottish Child Payment

This advice applies to Scotland

What is the Scottish Child Payment

The Scottish Child Payment is for parents or carers on low incomes who have a child under 6. It’s a payment of £10 a week for each child under 6. It’s paid every 4 weeks by Social Security Scotland.

Who can get the payment

You can get a Scottish Child Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you or your partner is responsible for a baby or child under 6
  • you get certain benefits
  • nobody else gets a Scottish Child Payment for the child
  • you live in Scotland.

If you have more than 1 child under 6, you can get a payment for each child.

Who is responsible for a child

You or your partner must be responsible for a baby or child under 6 on the day that you apply. You can show you’re responsible for the baby or child if you or your partner:

  • gets Child Benefit for them, or
  • is responsible for them for Child Tax Credit, the child element of Universal Credit or the child addition of Pension Credit, or
  • is their kinship carer. 

If you’re a kinship carer, you’ll need to show a legal order or a letter from the local council. You might have a legal order like a kinship care order, compulsory supervision order, residence order, permanence order or guardianship order.

Which benefits do you need to be getting

You must get 1 of these benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit – if your UC is reduced to £0 by a sanction or a deduction, you can still get Scottish Child Payment
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you’re waiting for a decision on your benefits

If you’ve applied for 1 of these benefits but not yet had a decision, you can still apply for the Scottish Child Payment.

Social Security Scotland will keep your application in case a decision is made about your benefit. If a decision is not made within 14 days, Social Security Scotland will decide you’re not entitled to a Scottish Child Payment.

If you get a decision after 14 days and it’s backdated to include the date you applied for a Scottish Child Payment, you should contact Social Security Scotland. They can decide on your Scottish Child Payment without you sending a new application.

If you’re not sure if you can apply, you can get advice from an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizen Advice Bureau. Find out where to get advice.

The Scottish Child Payment won’t affect your other benefits.

How to apply for the Scottish Child Payment

Payments will be calculated from the day that you apply, so apply as soon as you can.

If you applied on or before 15 February, you might not get your first payment until April, but your payments will be backdated to 15 February.

You can make an application with details of all of the children under 6 you take care of.

When you apply for the Scottish Child Payment, you'll be asked if you want to apply for a Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods at the same time.

If you’ve already had a Best Start Grant, you can still apply for the Scottish Child Payment.

You can apply by:

You can find out more about Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods.

Social Security Scotland will tell you when they’ve received your application. They aim to process your application as quickly as possible. They’ll write to you to tell you the result of their decision.

If more than 1 person applies for the same child

Only 1 person can get the Scottish Child Payment for each child.

If you and somebody else apply for the same child, Social Security Scotland will decide who gets the payment based on which benefits you already get for the child and how you can show you're responsible for the child.

If you get 1 of these benefits for the child, you’ll get the Scottish Child Payment:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit with child element
  • Universal Credit with child element.

If the other person applying gets 1 of these benefits for the child, they’ll get the payment.

If you and the other person get 1 of these benefits for the child, for example because you have a joint claim, the person who applies for Scottish Child Payment first will get the payment.

If no one applying gets 1 of these benefits but 1 of you is a kinship carer, the kinship carer will get the Scottish Child Payment.

If neither of you is a kinship carer, the person who gets Child Benefit will get the Scottish Child Payment.

If all the people applying are kinship carers, and none of them gets any benefits for the child yet, the person whose application is processed first will get the payment.

You can get help to apply for the Scottish Child Payment from a supporter. If you're disabled, you can get help to apply from an advocate. 

Support when contacting Social Security Scotland

You can ask someone else to contact Social Security Scotland about the Scottish Child Payment or your application. This person is called a 'supporter'. A supporter could be anybody you trust, like a friend or family member.

Social Security Scotland can give some general information to your supporter without your consent. You might ask your supporter to contact Social Security Scotland by phone or webchat to:

  • ask for general information about the benefit or your application
  • check the status of your application
  • tell Social Security Scotland about a change in your circumstances.

Supporters can’t contact Social Security Scotland by email or letter.

Social Security Scotland won’t give your supporter any specific information about your circumstances.

Extra help applying if you’re disabled

If you have a physical disability, a learning disability or a mental health condition, you can get help with applying for the Scottish Child Payment.

You can be put in touch with an advocate who can help you express your views, get information you need and help you make decisions.

You can ask for an advocate by contacting Social Security Scotland and asking for the Independent Advocacy Service. Find out how to contact Social Security Scotland on mygov.scot.

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.

How and when the Scottish Child Payment is paid

If you’re awarded a payment, you’ll be paid every 4 weeks.

The payment is £10 a week. There are no part payments, so as long as you’re eligible for 1 day in a week, you’ll get a full payment for that week.

Your payments will be paid into the bank account you put on your application form. If you want to change this, contact Social Security Scotland.

Your first payment might be different from the other payments because of high demand when applications open. Social Security Scotland will tell you when to expect your first payment and the payments after that.

If you applied on or before 15 February

If you applied for the payment on or before 15 February 2021, Social Security Scotland has said you’ll get a decision and the first payment before the end of April.

Your payments will be backdated to 15 February.

If your circumstances change

You’ll need to tell Social Security Scotland if your circumstances change. This includes if:

  • you stop being responsible for the child – for example, someone else becomes their kinship carer
  • your other benefits stop, like Universal Credit
  • you stop living in Scotland.

You should also tell them if there's a change to your personal details, like your name, address or payment details. 

Find out how to report a change of circumstances on mygov.scot

If you become responsible for another child

You won’t need to make a new application if you become responsible for another child. You can add them to the claim you already have. 

You’ll need to show Social Security Scotland that you’ve become responsible for another child. You can show you’re responsible for a child if you or your partner:

  • gets Child Benefit for them, or
  • is responsible for them for Child Tax Credit, the child element of Universal Credit or the child addition of Pension Credit, or
  • is their kinship carer. 

Social Security Scotland will use your original Scottish Child Payment application to get the other details they need about you.

Your payments for each child will be made at the same time as the Scottish Child Payments you already get. 

When your child turns 6

The Scottish Child Payment will stop when your child turns 6. You’ll still get £10 for the week they turn 6 – it doesn’t matter what day of the week their birthday is.

You’ll get a letter from Social Security Scotland 2 months before your child’s 6th birthday telling you that the payment will stop soon. You’ll get another letter on or soon after your child’s 6th birthday telling you that your payments have stopped.

If you don’t get the payment or get less than you expected

If you’re not awarded the Scottish Child Payment, Social Security Scotland will send a letter telling you why.

If you disagree with the decision or the amount you’ve been paid, you can ask Social Security Scotland to look at it again. This is called a 're-determination'.

You have 31 days from the day you got the decision letter to ask for a re-determination. You're assumed to have received a letter 48 hours after Social Security Scotland sent it, unless you can show that there was a delay in getting the letter. This period of 31 days can be extended to up to 12 months if you have a good reason.

Find out more about asking for a re-determination.

If you’re paid by mistake

If you’re paid a Scottish Child Payment by mistake or you’re paid too much, you might have to pay the money back to Social Security Scotland.

Find out how Social Security Scotland decides if you have to repay an overpayment.

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