Sources of financial help with your baby
Last updated: 08/02/2021
Best Start Grant
The Scottish Government has introduced a new grant to help with the costs of a new baby called the Best Start Grant. This has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant that is no longer available in Scotland.
The Best Start Grant includes 3 different grants:
- The pregnancy and baby payment – to help with the costs of pregnancy or having a new baby. Families will receive £600 from 25th week of pregnancy to 6 months after the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any following children.
- The early learning grant – a payment of £250 when your child starts nursery. The early learning grant and the school age grant will be paid from summer 2019. If you did not get the pregnancy and baby payment you can still apply for this part.
- The school age grant – a further payment of £250 to help with the additional costs when your child start school.
Who can get it?
You’ll be eligible for best start grant if you get any of the following benefits:
- Universal credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
- Housing benefit
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
If you’re under 19 and someone else is claiming child benefit, child tax credit or universal credit for you, you’ll be eligible for best start grant regardless of income or benefits.
People who have adopted a baby or who have started looking after a baby as a kinship carer can also apply for the grant. They will have until the end of the day before the child’s first birthday to apply.
If you have twins or a multiple birth £600 is payable per child, if you have no other children living with you. If there are other children living with you, it is £300 per child in a multiple birth, plus one supplement of £300.
Applications for Best Start Foods are made on the Best Start Grant form.
0800 182 2222
Best Start Foods
Best Start Foods is a voucher scheme for children and pregnant women. Vouchers, worth £4.25 each or £8.50 for a child under one year, are given on a prepaid digital smartcard depending on your circumstances. They can be used for formula milk, cow’s milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables at participating shops.
If you get vouchers you automatically qualify for free vitamins available from health centres.
Vouchers are awarded to each of the following groups:
- women under 18 years of age who are at least 10 weeks pregnant whether or not they receive any benefits
- women over 18 years of age who are at least 10 weeks pregnant and receive a qualifying benefit
- women with a baby under one year old who receive a qualifying benefit (Note: The year starts from the expected date of delivery and not the date of birth, so vouchers may be received for more or less than one year)
- a child who is under four years old whose family is in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
Who can get it?
You can get vouchers if you are receiving one of the following qualifying benefits:
- income support
- income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- income-related employment and support allowance
- child tax credit, where income is below £16,190 and no working tax credit is received
- child tax credit and working tax credit where income is below £7,320
- universal credit, with earnings of £610 or below in the last 2 assessment periods.
Multiple vouchers are awarded if more than one criterion is met. For example, a mother who has a baby under a year old will get two vouchers, one for herself and one for her baby. If she also has another child aged two she will get another voucher bringing her total to three.
How to apply for Best Start Grant and Foods
Applications for Best Start Foods are made on the Best Start Grant form. You can fill this in on line at www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant-best-start-foods/ or call 0800 182 2222 to make an application by phone.
All new-born babies in Scotland will be given a baby box containing useful items including:
- clothes, from new-born up to 6 months
- a digital ear thermometer
- a bath towel
- a changing mat
The box has a mattress, mattress protector and a fitted sheet, and can be used as a safe place for your baby to sleep. The baby box is free, and your midwife will help you register for it at your 20 to 24 week antenatal appointment. You don’t need to do anything else. Your baby box will arrive between weeks 28 to 32 of your pregnancy.
For more information visit:
Health benefits for you
Pregnant women are entitled to dental costs while pregnant and for 12 months after their baby is born. You will also get help paying for glasses and with travel costs to and from hospital. Prescriptions are free in Scotland.