Best Start Grant

Cost of living crisis: find out what help is available

The Best Start Grant is made up of three possible payments. It provides parents or carers who get certain benefits or tax credits with financial support during the key early years of a child's life.

Pregnancy and Baby Payment

We have replaced the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant with the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment in Scotland.

Social Security Scotland began taking applications on Monday 10 December 2018.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment replaces and expands on the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant by:

  • providing eligible families with £606 on the birth of their first child and £303 on the birth of any subsequent children
  • not putting a limit on the number of children that are supported
  • extending the application window from 24 weeks pregnant to 6 months after the birth, giving clients longer to apply

Early Learning Payment

The Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment is a new £252.50 payment to help with the costs of early learning when a child is between 2 and 3½ years old.

Social Security Scotland began taking applications on Monday 29 April 2019.

School Age Payment

The Best Start Grant School Age Payment is a new £252.50 payment to help with the costs of preparing for school.

Eligibility is based on the age of the child. The application window is from the first of June in the year that the child is first old enough to start school until the last day in February of the following year.

Parents and carers of children who do not start school, or who defer starting until the following year, should still apply during this window.

If they do not apply within this window, they will not be able to receive the payment.

Further details can be found on

Policy position papers

We have published a series of social security policy papers setting out our position on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland.


Early years assistance: consultation on the Best Start Grant regulations closed on 15 June 2018. An independent analysis of views received and the Scottish Government’s response have now been published.

The Best Start Grant Reference Group, set up in October 2016, supported Scottish ministers to develop policy around the Best Start Grant. The Group was stood down on 25 May 2021.

The Five Family Payments Reference Group was set up in July 2021 to allow Scottish Government policy officials to meet with key stakeholders to identify best practice for the three Best Start Grant payments, Best Start Foods and Scottish Child Payment.

Back to top