New and expectant parents could receive a financial boost this Christmas with the launch of a new Scottish Government grant.
Social Security Scotland will start taking applications for the Best Start Grant’s Pregnancy and Baby Payment on Monday 10 December, with the first payments expected to be made before Christmas.
The Best Start Grant gives financial support to families on lower-incomes during the early years of their child’s life, providing a grant of £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 for children after that.
Two additional payments of £250 will also be available to help cover the costs of early learning and starting school, with applications for these grants open by summer 2019.
The scheme, which replaces the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant, also gives parents more time to apply, extending the application window from 24 weeks pregnant until six months after birth.
Renfrewshire Council’s Convener for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We want all children in Renfrewshire to have the best possible start in life and this new grant will ensure struggling families have some extra cash during their child’s early years.
“I’d encourage all new and expectant parents to apply, it’s easy to do and will provide support in years to come.”
People who receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit will be eligible for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.
Expectant mums who are under 18 or 18/19 and still dependent on their parents and in full-time education or training do not need to receive a qualifying benefit to apply for the grant.
Applications for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment can be made by phone, post or online. The grant is open to parents or carers.
To apply or for more information, call the Pregnancy and Baby Payment freephone helpline on 0800 182 222 or visit mygov.scot/pregnancy-and-baby-payment.
For advice on making sure you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to contact Advice Works on 0300 300 1238 or the Citizens Advice Bureau on 0141 889 2121.
Alternatively, you can call the Scottish Government’s new free Financial Health Check service on 0800 085 7145.