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Best Start Grant has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland.

Best Start Grant is 3 cash payments that you can apply for if you're a parent or a carer.

You can get these payments:

  • if you have a child who's the right age for a payment
  • whether you're in work or not, as long as you're on certain payments or tax credits

Best Start Grant

Best Start Grant includes 3 one-off cash payments:

  1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment 
  2. Early Learning Payment
  3. School Age Payment

1. Pregnancy and Baby Payment

You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old. This goes up to 1 year old if you've taken over looking after a child, such as if you've adopted.

You can apply for a child whether they're your first child or not.

If you can get the Pregnancy and Baby Payment for your first child, you'll be paid £600.

You'll be paid £300 for any child that comes after your first, such as your second or third child, or any child after these.

2. Early Learning Payment

You can apply from your child's second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

If you can get the Early Learning Payment, you'll be paid £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

3. School Age Payment

You can apply for the School Age Payment in the year your child should be starting school, even where families plan to defer their child’s start date.

Exact dates when you must apply depend on when your child was born:

Best Start Grant
Your child's date of birth When you need to apply
Between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015 Between 3 June 2019 and 29 February 2020
Between 1 March 2015 and 28 February 2016 Between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021

You cannot apply outwith these dates.

If your child was born later than February 2016, you'll be able to apply after May 2021. You cannot apply for the School Age Payment for a child born before 1 March 2014.

If you get the School Age Payment, you'll get £250 for each child you can get the payment for.

If you have children who are the right age for both the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment, you only need to fill in the online Best Start Grant form once to apply for all these payments.

What affects whether you can apply

If you're over 18, you can apply whether you're in work or not, but you must be getting one of these:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not 'contribution based' JSA
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), not 'contribution based' ESA

Most people who get JSA or ESA get income-based JSA or income-related ESA. If you're getting Child Benefit, you must still be getting one of the benefits or payments on this list to get Best Start Grant.

Your income, or the amount you get of any of these payments or benefits, does not matter. You just need to be getting at least 1 of them.

If you're not getting any of these benefits or payments, but have applied for 1, you can still apply for Best Start Grant.

Which parent can apply for Best Start Grant

You can apply if you're the birth mother of a child.

Fathers and partners

If you're living with the birth mother, you can apply if the two of you are a couple, married or civil partners.

If you're not living with the birth mother, you can apply as long as you get a benefit for the child that shows you're the main person looking after them. This means you must be getting Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit, the Universal Credit child payments or the child addition part of Pension Credit for the child you want to apply for.


Apply online on the website.