Simpler social security system saves families time.
More than 38,000 payments have been paid to families to help with the costs of early learning and starting school.
Families who qualify for Scottish Child Payment are now automatically awarded Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment when their child becomes eligible, without them having to apply separately.
Figures showed that since Social Security Scotland introduced automation of the payments in November last year, 14,825 Early Learning Payments and 23,810 School Age Payments have been made, up to the end of June 2023.
Early Learning and School Age Payments are one-off payments of £294.70 to help eligible families as their child grows up, with things like clothes, travel, stationery or toys for home learning.
Social Security Scotland began making these payments automatically to eligible families who already get Scottish Child Payment, which is £25 per child per week, when it was extended to under 16 year olds.
1.7 million Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments have been made with more than £130 million paid to clients since the benefits launched in 2018.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“Social Security Scotland’s five family payments, which includes Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payments, are part of a package of measurements taken by the Scottish Government which will help lift 90,000 children out of poverty in Scotland this year.
“Tackling child poverty is central to the work of the Scottish Government and part of that work is making processes as straightforward as they can be for eligible people. The introduction of automatic payments for some of our benefits is a crucial part of that.
“This change has meant less paperwork for tens of thousands of families and has made sure that families across Scotland quickly and automatically get the financial support they are entitled to, to help support the development of their child when they are young.
“A very small number of people are eligible for Early Learning and School Age Payment but not Scottish Child Payment and I encourage them to check if they are eligible and continue to apply.”
Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment are part of a wider package of five family payments including: Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Foods.
Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payments are paid automatically to parents and carers who already receive Scottish Child Payment when their children become eligible. Automated payments were first made in November last year after Scottish Child Payment was extended to include all eligible people under the age of 16 and increased to £25 per child per week.
A small number of people are eligible for Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment but not Scottish Child Payment. The can apply at mygov.scot/benefits or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222
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