Cumbernauld Family Hub is encouraging low income parents of young children to apply now for financial assistance they are eligible for through a number of Best Start Grant supports being rolled out by Scottish Government.
This includes this year’s Best Start Grant School Age Payment, which opened in June 2021 for families who get tax credits or certain other benefits and have a child who was born between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2017.
The initiative entitles parents to £252.50 for each child fitting the criteria. The closing date for the current cycle of Best Start Grant School Age Payment is 28 February 2022, with parents and carers urged to apply even if their child is not starting school.
Meanwhile, those who are pregnant or have a child up to the age of three years-old are invited to apply for Best Start Foods, a prepaid card that can be used to buy healthy foods. The card can be used in shops and online, and further details about how this works can be found by clicking here.
As of 1 August 2021, Best Start Foods payments are set to increase to £4.50 per week. To maximise the support available to families, income thresholds that apply to certain qualifying benefits are also set to increase.
To apply for Best Start Foods, you must be aged 18 or over and in receipt of either Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Pension Credit or Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). Parents and carers can apply whether they are in work or not, but they cannot apply if they only receive Child Benefit.
Those eligible for Best Start Foods will receive £18 every four weeks throughout pregnancy, £36 every four weeks from birth until a child turns one and £18 every four weeks from one until a child turns three
There are two Best Grant Grant family payments delivered by Social Security Scotland that can be applied for by parents that fall into certain categories. These are Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment and Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and Scottish Child Payment. For more information on each of these, click here. Ben Macpherson, Scottish Government’s Minister for Social Security and Local Government, commented:
“Scottish Government is working hard to tackle poverty and to create a fairer society with the powers and resources that we have.
“As part of this, we are set to increase our Best Start Foods payments within the first 100 days of this new term of government, and we are determined to make sure families with young children get all the financial help that is available.
“We are providing support worth about £5,000 by the time a child turns six through our Best Start Grant, Best Start Foods and the Scottish Child Payment.
“People can apply for these payments on one simple, straightforward form. I urge all those who are eligible to make sure they apply by visiting www.mygov.scot/beststart.
“Access to financial support is important and we want people to get the money they are entitled to. So please check if you’re eligible and, if so, make sure to apply – and let others know too, so that together we can help build a fairer society here in Scotland.” Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, added:
“Best Start Grant was introduced in 2018 to replace the Sure Start Maternity Grant. Parents, guardians, carers and parents-to-be across Greater Cumbernauld should be aware of the programme and apply for all funds that they are eligible for.
“If you are a parent and are unsure whether or what you are eligible for through Best Start Grants, please contact Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 for advice and guidance.
One other fund which local families can apply for is Scottish Child Payment, whichis designed to help towards the cost of supporting families. It is a weekly payment (paid every four weeks) of £10 that can be accessed for every child you look after who is under the age of six.
Also facilitated by Social Security Scotland, this payment is planned to be rolled out to families with children under 16 years-old by the end of 2022.