A brand new benefit for low income families opened for applications on Monday 29 April.
The SNP Government’s £250 Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.
This payment is part of the SNP Government’s new Best Start Grant package, in addition to the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which has been open for applications since December and the Best Start Grant School Age payment which will open in June.
Best Start Grant is 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.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“The Best Start Grant package will support 30,000 to 40,000 families this year – totaling an investment of £12 million. This is £10 million more than previously provided by UK Government support.
“The new £250 payment will help low income families around the time a child normally starts nursery demonstrating this Government’s ambition to put more money into the pockets of families who need it most.
“The announcement of applications opening for this benefit means that by June, we will have four brand new benefits for low income families and carers. This is remarkable progress just a year on from the Bill passing unanimously in the Scottish Parliament.
“We are encouraging take up for this benefit by simplifying the application process, providing a range of channels for people to apply and working with frontline service staff and undertaking promotional activity to ensure as many people as possible are aware they can access this support.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Since December, low income families across North Ayrshire and Scotland have been eligible for a payment of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings.
“In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the SNP Government put more money into people’s pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year.
“The SNP wants every child to have what it needs to start in life and this package of measures, along with the Baby Box and free education, is a vital part of helping that happen.”
Katy Stoddart, a single parent, welcomed the Early Learning Payment:
“I think it’s great and I’ll be applying. I’ll be getting my son Matthew a big boy’s bed to get him out of his cot.
“As a single mum on benefits this will make a big difference for Matthew.”
For more information on eligibility or to apply, visit mygov.scot/benefits or call 800 182 2222.