Financial support for school costs and healthy foods  

Low income parents are being encouraged to apply for the financial support they are eligible for.

This year’s Best Start Grant School Age Payment opens today to families who get tax credits or certain other benefits and have a child who was born between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2017.

Even if the child is not starting school, eligible parents and carers should still apply before the closing date on 28 February 2022.

The payment is part of five family payments delivered by Social Security Scotland that also include: Best Start Foods, Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and Scottish Child Payment.

Best Start Foods payments are set to increase to £4.50 per week on 1 August to support low income families to buy healthy food for children under the age of three.

To maximise the support available to families, income thresholds that apply to certain qualifying benefits are also set to increase.


  • Applications open on 1 June 2021 and will remain open until 28 February 2022
  • Even if the child’s school start has been deferred until next year, or if the child is not going to start school at all, parents and carers of children born between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2017 should still apply in the 1 June 2021 to 28 February 2022 window. If they wait until after then it will be too late and they will miss out on their payment
  • There is no requirement to take up a place at school to be eligible for the payment
  • Those eligible for Best Start Foods will receive £18 every 4 weeks throughout pregnancy, £36 every 4 weeks from birth until a child turns one and £18 every 4 weeks from one until a child turns three
  • To be eligible parents or carers need to live in Scotland and be receiving tax credits or certain benefits
  • To find out more, including the eligibility criteria, people can visit or call 0800 182 2222