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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 six. It’s a payment of £10 a week for each child under six. It’s paid every four weeks by Social Security Scotland.

Payments will start after 15 February 2021, but you can apply now.

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 six – you won’t be eligible if they turn six before 15 February 2021
  • you get certain benefits
  • nobody else gets a Scottish Child Payment for the child
  • you live in Scotland.

If you have more than one child under six, 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 six on 15 February 2021. 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 one 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 one 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

You can apply now, but payments won’t start until after 15 February 2021. 

You can make one application with details of all of the children under six 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 for the Scottish Child Payment. They’ll send you a reminder before your application is processed in February 2021. They’ll contact you by text, email or letter.

If more than one person applies for the same child

Only one 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 one 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 one of these benefits for the child, they’ll get the payment.

If you and the other person get one 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 one of these benefits but one 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.

When will a decision be made

If you apply for the payment between November 2020 and 15 February 2021, you’ll get a decision from Social Security Scotland after 15 February 2021.

If you apply for the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods at the same time, you’ll get a decision for those payments first. Social Security Scotland aims to process those applications within ten working days.

How the Scottish Child Payment is paid

You can apply now, but no one will get a decision until after 15 February 2021. Social Security Scotland has said the first payments will be made after 22 February 2021.

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

The payment is £10 a week. There are no part payments, so as long as you’re eligible for one 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 your circumstances change

If your circumstances change before 15 February 2021, you’ll need to tell Social Security Scotland. 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.

If you become responsible for another child

You won’t need to make a new application if you become responsible for another child.

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 six

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

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

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