New School Payment launches

Full Best Start Grant package now available.

A brand new benefit for low income families is now open for applications.

The £250 School Age Payment is for families with a child old enough to start primary school  this August.

The payment is part of the Best Start Grant, a package of three payments for families in receipt of eligible benefits - including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit and tax credits - to help at key stages in a child’s life.

The Best Start Grant package also includes the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which has been open for applications since December 2018 and the Early Learning Payment, which launched in April. 

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Covering the costs of a child starting school puts pressure on family finances, and we have created this new payment to help ease that burden, putting more money into the pockets of families at a time when they need it most.

“We are committed to doing all we can to make sure Scotland is the best place for a child to grow up.  We want to increase financial support to families, bringing equality to children by giving them help towards a fairer start.

“We also want to encourage everyone who is entitled to a payment to apply, so will be working with services to promote the benefit to ensure as many people as possible are aware they can access this new additional support.”


  • applications for the School Age Payment will open on Monday 3 June and will remain open to 29 February 2020
  • eligible families can apply for a payment if their child was born between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015
  • there is no requirement to take up a place at school to be eligible for the payment
  • parents who have deferred school entry so their children will start school in August 2020 should still apply in the 3 June to 29 February window
  • Social Security Scotland is using a single application process for these payments so families can apply for any Best Start Grant Payment in one form. Applications can be made online, over the phone or by post
  • parents/carers will be eligible if they live in Scotland, are responsible for a child and receive certain qualifying benefits
  • the qualifying benefits include: Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
  • the introduction of this benefit means that the Scottish Government is now delivering four new benefits. These are: Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment and Carer’s Allowance Supplement.
  • Social Security Scotland came into being as an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government on 1 September 2018
  • further information can be found at or by calling 0800 182 2222


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