Some 400,000 children in Scotland are now thought to be eligible.
The cost of living is hitting families hard, but in Scotland, thousands of parents are now eligible for some extra help.
The Scottish Child Payment has been expanded to include all eligible families with children under the age of 16. It’s also gone up from £20 per week to £25.
The scheme was previously available to just low-income families with children under the age of six.
Some 400,000 children in Scotland are now thought to be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment.
The Scottish Child Payment website crashed on Monday morning as the two changes went live, something which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said shows how many people would benefit.
She told PA news: “There’s massive demand, and I actually welcome the fact there has been such a strong demand for applications for this extended benefit today. Yes, that’s created some difficulties for the website today, which will be sorted over the course of the day.”
But what is the payment, who is eligible and is there similar schemes elsewhere in the UK?
What is the Scottish Child Payment and how has it changed?
The Scottish Child Payment has now:
Increased from £20 a week to £25 a week per child
Extended to parents of children aged under 16 who claim means-tested benefits.
If you have more than one child under 16, you can claim Scottish Child Payment for each child.
Who is eligible for the Scottish Child Payment?
To qualify, you must be claiming one of the following benefits:
Child tax credit
Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
Income-related employment and support allowance
Working tax credit with a disability, or severe disability, element
How do I apply for the Scottish Child Payment?
The easiest way to apply for Scottish child payment is to fill in this online form on the MyGov.Scot website – fortunately it’ll only take you about 20 minutes to complete it.
If you’re already in receipt of the payment you don’t need to do anything – your payments will be automatically raised to £25.
If you don’t want to apply online, call 0800 182 2222 - or send in your application by post.
Payments will be backdated to when your application was sent in if you’re successful.
What about the rest of the UK?
The Scottish Child Payment is unique to Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon calling it the “most ambitious child poverty reduction measure in the UK”.
She added: “People will get access to this benefit which is not available anywhere else in the UK. It is being made available because the Scottish government is rightly, within really difficult financial circumstances, prioritising lifting children out of poverty.”
However, there are payments you can apply for elsewhere in the UK which may help with the cost of raising children.
The team at Money Saving Expert have helpfully put together a comprehensive guide of every single one of these benefits you can claim in your area of the UK – read it for yourself here.