Scottish child payment increased to £25 a week from today and more families can now get it – here’s how to apply
If you live in Scotland and claim certain means-tested benefits, and you have children under 16, you can now claim £25 a week per child in 'Scottish child payment'. The benefit has today been extended to reach more families, while the amount you can claim has also been boosted. Over 400,000 children could now be eligible.
Below we take you through how the Scottish child payment works, who's now eligible and how to apply. For more support if you're struggling with childcare costs, see our Help with childcare costs guide.
How the Scottish child payment scheme has been extended
From now on the Scottish child payment will be :
- Increased from £20 a week to £25 a week per child.
- Extended to parents of children aged under 16 who claim means-tested benefits. Previously it was for parents of children under six who claim means-tested benefits.
Scottish child payment is designed to help low-income families with the cost of raising children. It's one of the five family payments you might be able to get from Social Security Scotland. If you have more than one child under 16, you can claim Scottish child payment for each child.
You need to claim certain benefits to qualify for a Scottish child payment
If you're a Scottish resident claiming certain means-tested benefits, and look after a child under 16, you may be able to apply for the Scottish child payment.
To qualify, you must be claiming one of the following benefits:
- Child tax credit
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Pension credit
- Universal credit
- Working tax credit with a disability, or severe disability, element
If your claim is successful, you'll get the payment every four weeks into your bank account until your child turns 16. There are no restrictions on what you can spend the money on.
You can claim Scottish child payment on top of child benefit, which is a separate monthly payment for anyone with parental responsibilities for children under the age of 16 (or up to 20 for children in full-time education). Child benefit is currently worth £21.80 a week for a first born or only child, or £14.45 a week per child for additional children - see our Child Benefit guide for who can get it, how much you get, plus how to claim.
If you already claim Scottish child payment you don't need to do anything
If you're already in receipt of Scottish child payment for a child or children under six, you'll automatically get your £20 a week payment uprated to £25 a week - you don't need to do anything or reapply. Around 104,000 children already get Scottish child payment.
If you're not currently in receipt of Scottish child payment, or you currently get it for a child under six but you're now eligible to apply for older children, you'll need to apply - see below for more info.
How to apply for Scottish child payment if you don't already get it
The easiest way to apply for Scottish child payment is to fill in this online form on the MyGov.Scot website. You can apply for all your eligible children on this form. It should take around 10 to 20 minutes to complete. Make sure you have your bank details to hand before you start.
You can also apply by phone - call 0800 182 2222 - or by post, if you prefer.
If you don't have a permanent address, bank account, or you're applying on behalf of someone else, you'll need to call to apply.
If your child is under four, you can also apply for 'best start grants', which are three one-off payments to help cover costs in your child's early years, and 'best start foods', which is a prepaid card you can use to buy healthy food and milk, using the same form. We cover these in more detail in our Maternity grants and new parent support guide.
Help in other parts of UK
Scottish Child Payment is only available to parents on certain benefits in Scotland. However, there is other support available for families across the UK if you're struggling:
- If you have a three or four-year-old, FREE childcare is available. Parents can get up to 30 hours free per week.
- If you’re on universal credit and in work, you can reclaim some of your childcare costs (up to a maximum of £646 a month for one child and up to £1,108 a month for two or more children) for children up to the age of 16.
- If you’re not on benefits but entitled to tax-free childcare, you can get a top-up of up to £2,000 a year, per child until 1 September after your child turns 11 (or 16 for disabled children – and for them you can claim up to £4,000).
For the full details, head to our Help with childcare costs guide.
You may also be eligible for other benefits - over £15 billion of means-tested benefits go unclaimed each year because people do not realise they are eligible. Try our 10-minute benefit calculator to see what you're able to claim.