Ruth Maguire MSP has encouraged parents to apply now for the new Scottish Child Payment which opens in February.
Social Security Scotland is taking applications ahead of the new benefit’s introduction to help manage demand. 56,000 applications were received between Monday 9 November and Sunday 3 January.
Those who apply before the start date will have their payments calculated from 15 February. Parents are encouraged to apply now to avoid losing out on any money.
The new benefit will give eligible families on tax credits or certain benefits an extra £40 every four weeks for each child under six.
Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional payment for families with young children will be available. The Scottish Fiscal Commission have forecast that the payment could support up to 194,000 children this financial year.
The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “The Scottish Child Payment is a hugely ambitious measure to tackle child poverty in Scotland and the level of uptake seen so far is encouraging.
“However it’s crucial that every family who is entitled to receive the benefit receives the money owed to them. Please be sure to get your application in early if you think you qualify to ensure that your payments are calculated from the first day it starts.
More information on the Scottish Child Benefit can be found on the Parent Club website as well as MyGov.scot.”
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK but there are many more families out there who are entitled to this support and we want to make sure that they get every penny that they are due.
“Almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six so I am proud we are able to introduce it early for families with young children before we roll it out to children under 16 in 2022.
“Significantly more families are now relying on benefits due to the events of the last year – some perhaps for the first time – and this payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty.
“COVID-19 continues to challenge us and the required additional restrictions bring additional pressures for families. I know that mums and dads and carers will be balancing many things right now but if you can find ten minutes, that’s all it takes to fill in the application form, it could mean that there is some extra money that could maybe ease the financial pressure that you may be facing post-Christmas and amid the national lockdown.”
- for those who apply before Monday 15 February, their payment will be calculated from Monday 15 February. For those who apply after Monday 15 February, their payment will be calculated from the date they apply.
- Social Security Scotland delivers a number of benefits for families. This includes Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment and Best Start Foods.
- Applications can be made for Scottish Child Payment and all of these using a single straightforward form.
- Scottish Child Payment together with the three Best Start Grant payments and Best Start Foods could give families up to £5,200 by the time their first child turns six.
- people can apply by visiting mygov.scot/benefits or calling 0800 182 2222.
- Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit and it is in addition to the UK wide Child Benefit.
- to get advice on what benefits may be available parents and carers can access free, confidential advice through Money Talk Team. Visit Parentclub.scot to find out more.