Best Start Grant

3 mins read

This advice applies in Scotland only.

Best Start provides grants to low-income families with young children who claim certain means-tested benefits.

In this article

What is Best Start?

Best Start provides grants to low-income families with young children. You can only claim if you are on certain low-income benefits. Because it is a grant, it does not need to be repaid. There are three different types of grant:

A pregnancy and baby payment

This is £754.65 if you have no other children living with you, or £377.35 if you have other children aged under 16 living with you. If you have a multiple birth, you’ll get an additional £377.35 for each baby. You can claim a grant from the 25th week of your pregnancy up until your baby is 6 months old. This can be extended if you miss the deadline for reasons linked to coronavirus.

If you adopt a baby or start to care for a baby as a kinship carer, you can make a claim at any point before the baby’s first birthday.  You can still get the grant for a baby who was stillborn or who died after they were born.

An early learning payment

This is a payment of £314.45. You can get it for a child you are responsible for who is aged two or three. You can claim at any point from their 2nd birthday up until they turn three and a half. If you are late in applying for reasons linked to coronavirus your claim may still be accepted. To claim, you must be treated as responsible for that child e.g. you get child benefit for them.

A school age payment

This is a payment of £314.45 if you are responsible for a child who is of age when they would normally start school. You can apply at any point between 1 June 2024 up to 28 February 2025.

Do I need to be out of work?

No, you can qualify for a Best Start Grant whether or not you are working. However, you normally need to be getting a ‘qualifying benefit’. This means you must be getting one of the following benefits:

If you are aged under 18 you can get a Best Start Grant even if you are not on a qualifying benefit and no matter what income you have. If you are aged 18 or 19 and either pregnant or a parent, but someone else still gets benefits for looking after you as a dependent, you can get a grant so long as the person who cares for you gets Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Pension Credit for you as part of their family.

How do I apply?

To claim a Best Start Grant you can apply online or download an application form at or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.