News

Families to be alerted to additional financial support

Published: 28 Jul 2020 09:00

A first for social security in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is to actively inform families that they may be eligible for Best Start Foods and the Best Start Grant.

Information obtained from DWP and HMRC will allow Social Security Scotland to identify people who are on certain benefits or tax credits and have children of the right age. Social Security Scotland will then write to an estimated 22,000 families before the end of August inviting them to apply.

The letters are aimed at increasing take up of all financial support families are entitled to as part of the Scottish Government’s benefit take-up strategy and the wider co-ordinated approach to helping families who are under even more financial pressure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This important new proactive approach to maximising benefit uptake is a first for social security in Scotland.

Families already receiving qualifying UK benefits and tax credits will receive these invites. Those who currently don’t receive such support but think that they may be eligible are still encouraged to find out if they too are entitled to access Scottish benefits.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Social security is a human right and an investment in the people of Scotland. Encouraging individuals to claim the financial assistance they are entitled to is a duty of government and a social responsibility. We are committed to making sure that people get all of the money that they are entitled to - to help maximise incomes and tackle poverty.

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are pushing thousands of people further into hardship so it’s important families are informed about the support available to them.

“This unique direct marketing of benefits complements the Scottish Government’s wider efforts to help parents during this challenging time. We must do all that we can to eradicate child poverty and make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.”

Background

  • Best Start Foods is a new payment available to pregnant women and families with children under 3 years old on certain benefits and tax credits. The payment is made onto a card and can be used to help buy certain healthy foods as well as milk and first Infant formula. The card works like a bank card. It can be used to pay for food in supermarkets and local food shops, as long as they have a card reader. It’s contactless and can be used online
  • The Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment is a £250 payment for eligible families on certain benefits or tax credits who have a child between the ages of two to three years and six months. This is to help with the costs of early learning around the time your child might be starting nursery
  • Social Security Scotland will write to eligible families about Best Start Foods and Early Learning Payment first and will roll-out the invitation to apply letters for other Best Start Grant Payments at a later date.
  • The Scottish Government will adopt this proactive approach for the first time by a social security agency in Scotland when it starts to write to people to tell them that they may be eligible for Early Learning Payment. This has never been done before by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • More information on Scottish Government benefits can be found at mygov.scot or by calling Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222
  • Families can check if they are entitled to benefits by contacting their local welfare advice office including calling 0800 085 7145 for a free and confidential chat with the Money Talk Team, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Citizens Advice Scotland