Early years assistance: consultation on the Best Start Grant regulations
This consultation asks questions on whether the draft Best Start Grant regulations will help to improve children’s wellbeing and life chances.
Section 3 - Outline of BSG Regulations
Format of the Regulations
21. The legislative framework for Scottish Social Security is intended to be simple and accessible. The Social Security Bill sets out an over-arching legislative framework and describes the different types of assistance to be provided. The intention is that regulations will contain the main relevant provisions for each type of assistance. In the case of BSG, the draft regulations comprise three schedules, one for each of the BSG payments. This is to allow the reader to identify the relevant grant and see all of the provisions for it in one place. Some aspects will therefore be repeated across the schedules.
Introductory and Interpretation
22. This section specifes the date of commencement and definitions used in the regulations, such as the definition of a partner and how days will be counted. Interpretation also includes an explanation as to when an application will be taken to have been made.
Applications and Determinations
23. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for people who are entitled to BSG to take up their entitlement. In order to make the system accessible for people with a range of needs and preferences and to maximise take up, there will be multiple application channels for the BSG. Information on how to apply for devolved benefits will be publicised widely.
24. Each BSG payment is to be treated as a one off grant so, even if you do not qualify for the first payment, if your circumstances change by the time your child is ready for the second payment, you can still qualify. Where the Agency has verified information from a previous application, the intention is that it should be used, where practical and with the applicant's permission, to identify future BSG entitlement. The time lapse between determinations will mean that the Agency will need to contact the applicant and go through the application process with them to ensure that their circumstances have not changed.
25. Evidence requirements and processes to check whether applicants meet eligibility conditions are under development. This includes opportunities for using existing data sources, including gathering data from DWP and HMRC. Evidence requirements will be kept to a minimum and will be clearly specified.
26. There will be certain conditions that need to be met to determine that a valid claim has been made. Relevant processes for this and for situations where the form does not meet the requirements will be set out once service design is further progressed.
Date of Application
27. Applications will be assessed based on the eligibility of the applicant on a single day. The application is treated as being made on the day it is received by the Agency.
28. Once service design is further progressed, there may be some further regulations in this area that smooth application processes for applicants and increase efficiency of the social security system by reducing the need to handle applications repeatedly. For example, it may be possible to make provision for the situation where a backdated award of a qualifying benefit is made after the date of the BSG application.
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