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Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods

What is the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods?

The Best Start Grant is a series of cash payments to help cover the costs of some of the things you might need as you bring up a wee one.  There are three payments that you can apply for depending on how old your child is – the Pregnancy and Baby payment, the Early Learning payment, and the School Age payment. 

You can choose what you spend the payments on – whether that’s a pram, clothes, or toys. 

Best Start Foods is a payment card you can use to buy healthy food for you and your child. You can use it while you’re pregnant and on any child who is 3 or under.

Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment

You could be entitled to a payment if you are receiving certain benefits or tax credits and:

  • You are pregnant
  • You have recently had a baby

If you are under 18, you may be entitled even if you are not receiving certain benefits or tax credits.

If you are entitled to the payments and:

  • It’s your first baby, you’ll receive £642.35.
  • You already have a child, you’ll receive £321.20.
  • You have twins or triplets, there is more money available to help you.

Visit to find out more. 

Who should apply for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment?

The baby’s birth mother can apply for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment once they are 24 weeks pregnant up until the baby is 6 months old. It’s not just mums who can apply, dads and carers can apply too. 

Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

If you’re eligible, the Early Learning Payment is £267.65 for each child. You can apply when your child is aged between 2 to 3 years and 6 months. You can choose what to spend the money on – whether that’s new shoes, travel to get around, or toys to help them learn. 

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Best Start School Age Payment

The School Age Payment is £267.65 for each child. Just like the other Best Start Grants, you can spend it on whatever your child needs.

How do I apply?

When you apply relates to the age of the child and not when they start school. 

Here are the dates you can apply for the School Age Payment:

Your child's date of birth: When you need to apply:
Between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018 Between 1 June 2022 and 28 February 2023
Between 1 March 2018 and 28 February 2019 Between 1 June 2023 and 29 February 2024

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Why are we being offered the Best Start Grant Payments?

Bringing up kids is expensive and the Best Start Grant is to cover some of the costs. The Best Start Grants can help towards buying a pram, clothes or even a bus pass so you can get out and about. It is a cash payment, so it really is up to you how you want to spend it.

What is Best Start Foods?

Best Start Foods is a new payment card you can use to buy healthy food. It replaces the UK Government’s Healthy Start Vouchers in Scotland.

Who can apply for Best Start Foods?

You can apply for Best Start Foods if you live in Scotland if you get certain benefits or tax credits and you’re pregnant or the parent or carer of a child. 

If you are under 18, you might be eligible during your pregnancy up until your child turns 1 – even if you’re not on a benefit.

What can I buy with the payment card?

You can buy any of these foods:

  • Fresh eggs
  • Milk – plain cow’s milk and first infant formula
  • Fruit/vegetables – fresh, frozen or tinned (those with added salt and sugar are excluded – so make sure you check the labels!)
  • Pulses (e.g. peas, lentils and beans) – dried, fresh, frozen or tinned

How much money will I get?

Payments are every four weeks. You will get £18 every four weeks when you’re pregnant. Any child under 1 gets £36, and any child between 1 and 3 years old gets £18.

How many children qualify for a payment in each family?

There is no limit on the number of children you can claim Best Start Foods for. You will get a payment for any child you have a responsibility for that is aged between birth and 3 years old. If your child is under 2 and already getting Healthy Start vouchers, there are rules in place to make sure you won't miss out with the new scheme. Visit to find out more.

How does the card work?

The card is just like a normal debit card and has a pin and is contactless. You can use it  anywhere that accepts bank card payments and sells healthy food. It is also possible to use it for online shopping for your groceries if you have registered email and mobile numbers when registering your payment card

Will Best Start Foods affect other benefits?

No – Best Start Foods is not counted in any other benefit or tax credit assessments.

How do I apply?

You can apply for any of these grants or payments here, or call 0800 182 2222. You can also apply by post.

Visit to find out more.