What is the best start grant?
Have you overheard friends or family members talking about the Best Start Grant? Perhaps you’re wondering exactly what the Best Start Grant is and whether or not you’re eligible to apply? We’re here to explain all with our simple guide to the Best Start Grant.
The Best Start Grant is also known as the early learning payment. It’s actually divided into three cash payments which you can apply for, depending on your child’s age:
- Pregnancy and Baby Payment
- Early Learning Payment
- School Age Payment
If you’re the main person looking after a child, then you may be eligible to apply for one or all three payments.
Who gets the best start grant?
So, how do you know if you’re eligible? You can book an appointment with your local citizens advice bureau or drop-in to find out! We’re here to help. If you’re the main person looking after a child, such as their birth mother or father (or if you’re living with the child’s birth mother/father and you’re married, civil partners or a couple), then you could apply. The Best Start Grant can’t be paid to foster carers or parents whose children are in residential care. If this applies to you, it’s best to speak to your local council for support.
Do you have to be working to apply?
You don’t need to be in employment to apply for the Best Start Grant. If you’re over 18, you can apply whether you’re working or not, but you’ll need to be in receipt of one of the following payments:
- Child Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not ‘contribution based’ JSA
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), not ‘contribution based’ ESA
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
If you don’t yet receive any of these but you’re in the process of applying, you can still make an application for the Best Start Grant.
What about if you’re under 18?
Good news for parents under 18 – you don’t need to be on any payments or benefits to be eligible for the Best Start Grant. You can apply yourself for all three payments. Or you could ask someone else to apply on your behalf for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, provided they receive Child Benefit, Universal Credit Child Payments, Child Tax Credit or the child addition part of pension credit. If you’re aged 18 to 19 and you don’t receive any of the above payments or benefits, you’ll need your parent/carer to apply on your behalf, and they must be in receipt of one of the above.
Three different payments
The Best Start Gran is, a package of three payments to help at key stages in a child’s life. The payment you’re eligible for right now will depend on the age of your child. If you’re not sure, this is something East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau can help with! Filling out forms and making sure you have all the right supporting evidence doesn’t need to be difficult. Just book an appointment today with one of our friendly advisers and we’ll guide you through the process.
You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from the time you’re 24 weeks pregnant until your baby is 6 months old, and you could receive £600 for your first child or £300 for any children after your first.
The Early Learning Payment takes applications from your child’s second birthday until they are 3 years 6 months old, and you could receive £250 for each child.
If you apply for the School Age Payment in the year your child starts school, you could receive £250 for each child – a great way to get them off to the best possible start!
How long does best start grant take?
The application process is simple and quick, and we offer free advice. The time taken to process your application can vary but you’ll usually receive your Best Start Grant payment straight into your bank account. You’ll need to bring a few things with you to your appointment, but we can tell you more about this when we have a chat.
How The CAB can help you
If you’re eligible for the Best Start Grant, you can apply here. If you have any questions or are just looking for more general money advice, please contact us today. Why not pop into your nearest citizens advice bureau or give us a call to book an appointment?