Parents in Scotland are being urged to check if they are eligible for £250 to help care for their child.

The Scottish Government is offering the one-time School Age Payment to certain families to help with anything from books to a warm coat.

But the deadline is fast approaching, with parents having until February 28 to apply or else they will miss out on the payment.

“As we approach the application deadline, I want to encourage eligible families who have not yet applied, to get their applications in before the end of the month to ensure they get the payment," Social Security secretary, Shirley-Anne Sommerville, said.

“Access to financial support is a right, and we are committed to ensuring families in Scotland receive all the money they are entitled to.”

Who can apply for the School Age Payment?

You can get the School Age Payment if you: 

  1. Apply before the deadline
  2. Have a child who was born between March 1, 2015 and February 29, 2016
  3. Are getting a qualifying benefit
  4. Live in Scotland

 

What are the qualifying benefits?

To receive the School Age Payment, you or your partner usually need to be getting one of the following benefits: 

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit

There are some exceptions - if you are under 18, or are an 18/19-year-old mother, there are different rules in place. 

Anyone applying under the age of 18 does not need to be on a benefit, however someone else must be receiving a benefit if you are an 18/19-year-old mother.

What can I use the School Age Payment for?

The cash can be used for anything from a warm coat to books and toys.

It is part of the Best Start Grant, which is a package of three payments for families who get tax credits or certain benefits – including Universal Credit, Income Support and Housing Benefit.

Ms Sommerville of Social Security Scotland said: “The money can be used for things like clothes and homeschooling materials or anything else you need for your child."

What is I have deferred entry or am homeschooling?

Any eligible parents who have deferred their child's entry to school from August 2020 to August 2021, or those who are homeschooling, have been told that they must apply before the closing date.

“I’d also like to say to parents who weren’t eligible when the payment opened in June but whose circumstances have changed and are now getting tax credits or benefits – it’s not too late to get your application in and get the School Age Payment too," said Ms Sommerville.

Are there any other payments I can get?

Eligible people can also apply for the new Scottish Child Payment at the same time - this is an extra £40 every four weeks for children under six.

How can I apply?

You must apply via Social Security Scotland at this website before February 28 to receive a payment.