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Supports and benefits available to parents

Bringing up kids is amazing, but there’s lots of daily tasks that can be tough to manage, money being one of them! Money (or lack of it) can be really stressful to deal with, but there is help out there if you need it. There’s a wide range of benefits and services available. To make life that wee bit easier for you, we’ve pulled together a list of what you could be entitled to as a parent.

The Money Talk Team is available to help you make the most of your money. The team offers personalised advice on money matters - from benefit take up and council tax reduction to free school meals and reducing household energy costs. They can also support you to ensure you’re claiming all the grants and benefits you might be entitled to and make sure you don’t pay more than you need to for basic services like utilities. This service is delivered by the Citizens Advice network in Scotland, you can call 0800 085 7145 or get in touch with your local bureau if you’d prefer to see someone face to face. You can find details of your local Citizens Advice Bureau here.

Support and benefits for expectant parents and parents with a newborn baby

Maternity and paternity leave

If you’ve just found out you’re going to have a baby and you and/or your partner are currently working, you will be entitled to maternity and paternity leave. To see what options are open to you, visit the websites below:

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The Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is a cash payment for parents, or carers, who get certain benefits or are under 18, to help you give your baby the best start. Those who are 18 or 19, and in full-time education are also eligible for a payment if they are dependent on someone else who claims benefits on their behalf. You may be able to get £600 for your first child and £300 for all other children.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment can help to cover some of the costs of having children. These costs could be things like needing a pram, buying clothes or heating your home but, because it's a cash payment, you can choose how you need to spend the money. To find out more about the payment visit or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

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Scotland’s Baby Box

We want to welcome every baby born in Scotland by giving them their own Baby Box. The Baby Box will help families prepare for the arrival of their baby and provide a safe and comfortable place for them to sleep. The box itself acts like a Moses basket as it comes complete with a mattress and bedding that fits perfectly.

New babies need a surprising amount of stuff! Scotland’s Baby Box is packed full of clothes, bedding and lots of other useful things to help give your baby the best possible start in life.

Find out more about the Baby Box and how you can get yours.

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Best Start Foods payments

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.

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. 

You can find out more and apply for Best Start Foods at the website.

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Nenonatal Expenses Fund

If your baby was born prematurely, and is getting neonatal care, there is help available with the cost of food and travel to and from the hospital. Find out more about the neonatal expenses fund here.

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General support and benefits for parents

School clothing grant

You may be entitled to apply for a school clothing grant, which provides financial help towards the cost of buying a school uniform. School clothing grants are normally a cash grant paid directly into your bank account from your local council. All Scottish councils pay at least £100 to eligible families. Eligibility criteria for school clothing grants (i.e. who can apply) is set by local councils. Further information, and a direct link to local council websites, is available on the website.

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Free school meals

Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches in primary 1, 2 and 3. If your child isn't getting free lunches at this age, please contact their school or your local council directly. After primary 3, you can still claim free school meals for your child if you are in receipt of qualifying benefits. Details of those qualifying benefits are available on the website.

Note: older pupils aged above 16 can also receive free school meals if they receive the same qualifying benefits in their own right.

More information on help with school costs can also be found here.

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Child Benefit

You can get Child Benefit for any of your children who are under 16 and live in the UK. If they stay in most types of school, college or training after that age you can get Child Benefit until they're 20. Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. If you get Child Benefit, you will get £20.70 per week for your eldest child. You will get £13.70 per week for every other child. You should claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born or, if they're adopted, as soon as they come to live with you. Child Benefit can only be backdated for up to 3 months so if you claim it any time after this you'll miss some payments.

Visit for more information on how to claim Child Benefit.

Guidance on eligibility, how to claim and how to challenge a decision is available here

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Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit

Child Tax Credit is another payment made by the government to help with the cost of bringing up a child. While every child in the UK is eligible for Child Benefit, not every household is eligible for Child Tax Credit, it depends on your circumstances including your income how many children are living with you whether your child has a disability.

You will be able to get Child Tax Credits if you already receive:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job seekers allowance
  • Income-related Employment and support allowance
  • Child tax credit up to a maximum income of £16,190 per annum
  • Universal credit with an income limit of £610/month

The government is currently introducing Universal Credit, a new type of benefit which will eventually replace tax credits including Child Tax Credit. Visit for more information on Child Tax Credit, and whether Universal Credit has replaced it in your area yet.

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Financial Help if you have a child with disabilities

If you have a child with disabilities and you have stopped work to care for your child, money can be a big strain. However, you may be able to get financial help if you have a disabled child. There's the Disability Living Allowance for Children to help with expenses if you're a full-time carer for your child, as well as the Carer's Allowance and if your child is aged 16 or over they may be entitled to Personal Independent Payment (PIP).

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Guardian’s Allowance

If you’re looking after a child whose parent or parents have died, you may be able to claim Guardian’s Allowance. For more information on this, and for how to apply,

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Energy, bills and household support and benefits

Warmer Homes

Warmer homes is an online energy tool.

Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to provide advice and help with home energy efficiency measures to make your home easier and cheaper to heat. The types of measures offered under the various Scottish Government funded schemes include insulation, heating systems and energy efficient doors and windows.

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Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland can also refer you for independent advice on switching to ensure you are on the most suitable energy tariff for your needs. You can contact Home Energy Scotland by calling 0808 808 2282 Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm or you can request a call back here.

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Council Tax discounts, exemption and reductions

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme reduces how much council tax someone needs to pay, depending on their income and circumstances. You can apply for a Council Tax Reduction whether you own your home or rent, or whether you’re working or unemployed. The biggest reduction you can get is 100% off your annual bill. Visit the Check My Council Tax website to see if you can save. For more information and how to apply, visit where you can find out more about council tax discounts, exemption and reductions.

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Changing Energy Supplier

Changing your energy supplier is easy and could save you several hundred pounds per year, especially if you have never switched before. You just need some basic information that you will find on your energy bill. The best way to do it is to use an accredited price comparison service. You can do this online or over the phone. It is generally cheaper to pay by direct debit to get the best tariffs available.

However, there is currently a cap on prices that can be charged for prepayment meters so these are not as expensive as paying quarterly.

The energy regulator Ofgem has a list of accredited price comparison sites. This makes sure that the information that they provide is fair and accurate.

List of comparison sites:

What you will need:

  • Your annual use in kWh units, or the annual cost of your energy. Every energy supplier must provide this information on their bills.
  • The name of your current tariff and your energy company.
  • Your payment method – whether it’s direct debit, prepayment or pay on receipt of the bill.
  • Your postcode.
  • Your bank details (if paying by direct debit). If you do not have this information you can use average consumption figures instead – based on Ofgem averages. You may have to do this if you have just moved into the property

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Priority Service Register - Register for extra help during a power cut

If you have a child under the age of five, you can register with your electricity network provider for additional help and support during power cuts.


To find out more about this free service, or to register for the Priority Service Register, please contact:

  • If you live in the north of Scotland, including the Scottish Islands: Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) on 0800 294 3259 or by visiting
  • If you live in central or southern Scotland: Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) on 0330 10 10 167 or by visiting

If you are unsure who your network provider is, visit



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Debt and money support

Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund helps families and people in Scotland who are on low incomes by offering 2 different types of grants:

  • Crisis Grant: You can claim if you're in crisis because of a disaster (like a fire or flood), or an emergency (like losing your money or an unexpected expense)
  • Community Care GrantThis grant is to help you or someone you care for to start to live, or to carry on living, a settled life in the community. You can apply for these grants directly through your local council by visiting

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Basic Bank Accounts

If you don’t have a bank account, a fee-free basic bank account may be worth opening. It might also be a good thing to think about if you can’t use or open a standard current account. You can use a fee-free basic bank account to receive money and pay bills, but it doesn’t allow you to use an overdraft. To find out more about fee-free basic bank accounts, visit for more details different types of bank accounts visit

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Debt support

Most of us find ourselves in debt at some point in our lives. But being in debt can put a huge strain on you and your relationships, and it can often feel like there’s just no way out of it. But there is lots of help available.

You can call Money Advice Scotland Helpline 0800 731 4722, a helpline that provides signposting to free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm.

Or if you’d like to talk to someone about making the most of your income or claiming any of the benefits above, you can arrange a free chat with the Money Talk Team by calling 0800 085 7145 or find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to arrange a face to face chat.

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Credit Unions

A credit union is a place where you can save your money and get loans at competitive rates. They’re not-for-profit, so any money they make goes back to the people who use them via their rates and dividends. Unlike banks, credit unions are owned and controlled by the people that use their services, and they exist only to serve their customers. They also take into account your own personal financial situation, provide a friendly service, and are based in communities around Scotland. You can visit to find out which one you could be a part of, or explore your options with an adviser as part of the Money Talk Team.

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Debt Arrangement Scheme

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a government-backed debt management tool which allows you to repay what you owe through a debt payment programme.

Under a debt payment programme, you repay your debts in one affordable monthly payment over any reasonable extended period of time.

DAS freezes interest, fees and charges on the debt and offers protection from creditors (the people you owe money to), which means they should not contact you or increase your debt during the period of your programme.

Applying for a DAS is free but you must apply through an approved money adviser.

Free advice is available but there are some organisations who will charge for this service, so it's worthwhile checking before seeking advice.

To find out more about the Debt Arrangement Scheme, talk to an approved money adviser or check out the DAS Scotland website.

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Trust deeds

A trust deed is a formal debt solution and form of insolvency. Trust deeds can be voluntary or protected and are provided through a trustee (such as an insolvency practitioner).

A trust deed normally lasts for 48 months and you will need to pay a monthly contribution during this time. Your payments will be used to cover your trustee’s fees as well as payments to creditors at the end of the trust deed.

In a voluntary trust deed, an agreement is made between an individual and their creditors to repay part, or all of what they owe.

Under a voluntary trust deed, the debtor’s rights to the things they own are transferred to a trustee who will sell them to pay creditors part of what is owed to them.

A voluntary trust deed is not legally binding on creditors, which means they can still take action to recover the money they are owed regardless of the trust deed agreement. They could, for example, still apply to make you bankrupt.

A trust deed can become protected if a majority of creditors agree to its terms and it meets other detailed conditions. A protected trust deed is a legally binding agreement and creditors cannot take further action to recover the money they are owed as long as the terms of the trust deed (for example, making regular monthly payments) are not broken.

Signing a trust deed is a serious step and individuals must be sure they understand what they are signing when entering into one. You can find out more about trust deeds here.

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For information and support about bankruptcy, visit

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