Families across Scotland are being encouraged to check if they qualify for the Best Start Grant School Age Payment as schools re-open next week.

The one-off cash payment is open to people who receive certain benefits or tax credits and are a parent or carer of a child born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016.

Parents do not need to take up a school place to get the money – people who are home schooling or have deferred their child’s start date can still apply.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The move from nursery to primary school can feel like a huge step for parents as well as kids. It can also come at a cost – putting extra pressure on low-income families.

“As parents gear up for kids starting school next week, many will be feeling the financial impact of Covid-19. I urge them to check if they are eligible for the School Age Payment and apply today.

“I’d also encourage people to check what other support is available to them at this difficult time, such as the school clothing grant and free school meals.”

Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland David Wallace said:

“Since the outbreak of coronavirus, we have been working in different ways with the vast majority of our colleagues now working from home.

“Despite these restrictions, we remain committed to getting payments to people who need it.

“We are encouraging people to apply online in the first instance. For those that cannot access the online application, a limited telephone service is available where people can speak to one of our Client Advisors.”

People can get more information and apply at mygov.scot/schoolpayment

Background

  • Applications opened on 1 June 2020 and will remain open until 28 February 2021
  • Parents who have deferred entry to August 2021 should still apply in the 1 June 2020 to 28 February 2021 window. If they wait until after then it will be too late and they will miss out on their payment
  • There is no requirement to take up a place at school to be eligible for the payment
  • To be eligible you have to live in Scotland and be receiving certain benefits or tax credits. To find out more, including the eligibility criteria, visit mygov.scot/schoolpayment
  • In last year’s application window 1 June 2019 to 29 Feb 2020, we paid a total of £4.6 million in Best Start Grant School Age Payments supporting over 18,000 families at this key stage in a child’s life. The latest stats can be read at www.gov.scot/publications/best-start-grant-and-best-start-foods-high-level-statistics-to-31-may-2020/
  • Demand for School Age Payment has been high and so processing time might take longer than usual. Once we receive an application, we will write to the client with the outcome.
  • Since coronavirus restrictions were put in place, the majority of our colleagues moved to working from home. This means we’ve been unable to offer our full inbound telephone service. We have a limited number of lines available for inbound calls. This is aimed at those who need help with their applications and cannot access our services online. Clients can speak to one of our advisors by calling 0800 182 2222 between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday.