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Financial support for low-income families

Financial support

The following financial support is available for people and families on low incomes or who have children entitled to free school meals - this does not include those entitled to universal provision of P1-5 meals:

  • Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Free school meals payments during school holidays
  • Free school meals weekend payments
  • Free school meals strike days

For more information on the financial support available and details on how this will be paid, please access the relevant section using the buttons below.

Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments will be made for each school aged child who receives Free School Meals on the basis of low income in 2022. These payments are funded by the Scottish Government.

Payments will be made quarterly around the start of the Easter, Summer, October and Winter holidays, with £520 originally due to be paid in 2022.  

However, as announced by the First Minister on 10 October 2022, the Scottish Government will provide additional funding to local authorities to enable the Winter Bridging Payment to be doubled in value to £260 for every eligible child.

A full breakdown of future payments is detailed in the table below:

Payment Value Period of eligibility Date payment to be made
Winter 2022 £260 30 November to end of term prior to winter break 22 December 2022

The above payments are in addition to support delivered through the continuation of Free School Meals over the school holidays.

Although all P1-5 pupils receive a free school meal, the payments will only be made if you get any of the following benefits and are therefore eligible for free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and your earned income is less than £660 as assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions in the assessment period immediately preceding the application for free school meals)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit only (with a gross annual income less than £17,005 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice TC602)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit (with a gross annual income less than £7,920) as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

You do not have to apply. If you are eligible the payment will be made automatically to households where a child/young person is in receipt of Free School Meals on the basis of low income.  The payments can be used by families for any purpose as they see fit. There is no expectation that these payments are to be used for any specific purpose.

The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously.

In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque.

Q. Who is eligible to receive a Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment?
A. Any child or young person who attends primary or secondary school (including ASN schools) who is eligible for means tested free school meals, as their parent/carer(s) are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.  For more information on whether you are eligible, see the Free School Meals page.

Q. Are all children in P1-P5 eligible for the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment?
A. No. Although, all P1 to P5 pupils automatically get a free school meal you will only get this payment if you get any of the benefits listed above. For more information on whether you are eligible, see the Free School Meals page.

Q. Does the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment include pre-school aged children?
A. No, pre-school aged children are not eligible for this payment. The Scottish Child Payment is available for children under the age of 6 – to find out more about this and to apply please visit the Scottish Child Payment page.

Q. Do I need to apply for the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment?
A. No. The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously. In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque.

Q. When will I receive the £260 Winter 2022 payment?
A. We aim to have payments issued by Thursday 22 December 2022.

Q. Will I get a payment for each of my children?
A. Yes, you will receive a payment for each eligible child or young person.

Q. Will this payment affect my claim for Universal Credit?
A. If you receive Universal Credit, then this payment will be counted as Capital. This will not normally affect the amount you receive unless you have savings or other Capital totalling over £6,000. If you are worried that this payment could impact your Universal Credit award, you should report the payment in your journal by signing in to your Universal Credit account or by calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

This payment will be disregarded in full for other benefits and for income tax purposes.

Q. Where can I find more information on the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment?
A. For more information on the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment, please visit the Scottish Government website.

Q. I believe I should have received this payment but haven’t.  Who should I contact?
A. You should use our enquiry form.

If you have any other questions about the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment use our enquiry form.

Please note that changes to the Scottish Child Payment will take effect on 14 November this year. If you are eligible and have responsibility for one or more children aged 6–15 you will need to take action to ensure you receive the support you are entitled to.

The Scottish Child Payment is already being paid by Social Security Scotland for eligible children under the age of 6 in Scotland. From 14 November the payment will become available for eligible children under the age of 16 and will be increased in value to £25 per eligible child per week.

Families already in receipt of Scottish Child Payment and who have older children aged 6-15 will be able to add older children to their existing award, and newly eligible families with children aged 6-15 will be able to apply.

There is no limit to the number of children you can apply for, and receiving Scottish Child Payment will not affect your tax or other benefits.

You will need to take action to apply for the Scottish Child Payment even if you currently receive Bridging Payments. If you are eligible for the Scottish Child Payment, you should apply for it on 14 November or as soon as possible after this date. Delaying your application may result in you losing out on money you would otherwise be entitled to.

Bridging Payments are coming to an end, with the final payment of £260 due in December 2022. No further Bridging Payments will be made once these awards have been made. If you are eligible for a Bridging Payment in December you will still receive it whether or not you have applied for Scottish Child Payment.

Action required – what to do on 14 November

From 14 November you should apply for Scottish Child Payment if you:

  • receive a low-income benefit such as Universal Credit, Tax Credits, or Pension Credit
  • have responsibility for a child or children under the age of 16
  • live in Scotland

You can apply online at Scottish Child Payment - mygov.scot, which should take around 10 to 20 minutes in total. Before applying, you'll need:

  • the dates of birth of any children you have
  • your partner's details, if you have a partner
  • your bank details, if you have an account

If you cannot apply online, you can apply by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.

Please be aware that lines may be busy, due to the number of children and families who are newly eligible for this benefit, therefore it may take longer than normal for calls to be answered.

Given the large number of children who will become eligible for the Scottish Child Payment, it means that people applying for the first time might need to wait longer than usual to get their award. However, you should not delay making your application. Successful applications will only be awarded from the date they are received.

You should not apply before 14 November for children aged 6-15 as they are not eligible for the Scottish Child Payment before this date.

From 14 November, eligible families and carers can find out more and apply at Scottish Child Payment - mygov.scot or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.

Q. When can I apply for Scottish Child Payment for a child aged 6-15?
On 14 November or as soon as possible after this date. However, you shouldn’t apply before 14 November as your children aged 6-15 are not eligible before this date. It is strongly advised that people apply on the day to ensure they get all the money they are entitled to.

Q. On 14 November, how should I apply for Scottish Child Payment?
It is strongly advised that people apply online, but Social Security Scotland can also take applications by post or over the phone on 0800 182 2222.

If you need help applying, a large print paper form or you do not want to apply in English then please call the number above. If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

Q. I receive Scottish Child Payment for my child aged under 6. But I also have a child aged 6 or over. What should I do?
You can add older children to your existing claim through the online Scottish Child Payment form. There’s no need to make a completely new application.

Q. I already receive Scottish Child Payment and my children are all under 6. Do I need to make a new application?
No, you don’t need to do anything. You will receive Scottish Child Payment at the new rate of £25 per child per week automatically from 14 November.

Q. I have been receiving Scottish Child Payment but my child turns 6 before 14 November. Do I need to re-apply?
Yes. You should make a new application on 14 November.

Q. Should I apply before 14 November to get my award as soon as possible?
No. If Social Security Scotland process an application before 14 November, your claim will be refused. It is strongly advised that people apply on the day itself or as soon after that as possible. Your award will be backdated to the date Social Security Scotland receive your application.

Q. I am working. Does that mean I won’t qualify?
A significant proportion of people who receive qualifying benefits such as Universal Credit or Tax Credits are in work. You can still be eligible for Scottish Child Payment so long as you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, such as Universal Credit or Tax Credits. Many people in work receive support through social security, see the full list of qualifying benefits.

Q. I am a kinship carer, can I qualify for Scottish Child Payment?
People who care for children in their family but who aren’t their parents – known as kinship carers – can qualify for Scottish Child Payment if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Q. I am going to be applying for Scottish Child Payment for the first time on 14 November. Will I automatically qualify for some other benefits?
From 28 November, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment will automatically be awarded to eligible families in receipt of Scottish Child Payment, without the need to apply.

People can learn more about Best Start Grants including their ability to opt-out of having them paid automatically at Scottish Child Payment - mygov.scot.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of children for whom I can claim Scottish Child Payment?
No, there’s no limit. You can apply for any number of eligible children.

Q. I get Bridging Payments. Will I need to apply for Scottish Child Payment?
Yes. Bridging Payments are administered completely separately to Scottish Child Payment. So, if you are eligible for Scottish Child Payment, you should apply for it in the normal way regardless of whether you get Bridging Payments. You will still get your final Bridging Payment (of £260) in December if you remain eligible at that time.

Q. If I receive Scottish Child Payment, will it affect my tax payments or other benefits?
No. If you receive Scottish Child Payment, it will not affect any of these things.

Q. My child has turned 16 and their Scottish Child Payment has stopped - is any other support available from the Scottish Government?
Your child may qualify for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a weekly payment of £30 for eligible 16 to 19 year olds who want to continue learning. Find out more about EMA - financial help for senior pupils

More information is also available via Citizens Advice Scotland’s Money Talk Team who can be contacted on 0800 085 7145. Or you can find out more at Money Talk Team - Citizens Advice Scotland.

Q. How long will it take for the money to reach my bank account?
It may take some time for Social Security Scotland to process your payment but please be assured they will do so as quickly as they can. The money you receive will usually be backdated to the date that your application is received. There's no need to check on progress by phone once the application is made.

Q. I received Bridging Payments for my 16/17/18 year old. Why can’t I get Scottish Child Payment for them?
Scottish Child Payment is being extended to under 16 year olds. Unfortunately not everyone who gets Bridging Payments will be eligible for Scottish Child Payment, although overall many more people will be eligible.

Parents with children aged 16-18 should make sure they are receiving all the support they are entitled to such as EMA and speak to the Citizens Advice Scotland’s Money Talk Team who can be contacted on 0800 085 7145. Or you can find out more at Money Talk Team - Citizens Advice Scotland.

The Scottish Government has provided the council with funding for pupils who get free school meals (excluding those entitled to universal provision of P1-5 meals) for the following school holidays:

  • Christmas / New Year 2022-23
  • February 2023 mid-term break
  • Spring break 2023

In line with the level of funding provided to us by the Scottish Government, the Christmas/New Year 2022-23 payment (covering 26 December 2022 - 6 January 2023) will be made on Thursday 22 December 2022.

Payment dates for future holiday periods will be confirmed nearer the time. 

Although all P1-5 pupils receive a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements the payments referred to above will only be made if you get any of the following benefits and are therefore eligible for free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and your earned income is less than £660 as assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions in the assessment period immediately preceding the application for free school meals)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit only (with a gross annual income less than £17,005 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice TC602)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit (with a gross annual income less than £7,920) as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously.

In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. Who is eligible to receive a free school meal payment during the school holiday period?
A. Any household with a child or young person eligible for free school meals who get any of the benefits listed above. This includes primary, secondary and ASN schools. For more information on whether you are eligible, see the Free school meals page.

Q. Are all children in P1-P5 eligible for this payment?
A. No. Although all P1 to P5 pupils automatically get a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements you will only get this payment if you get any of the benefits listed above. For more information on eligibility see the Free school meals page.

Q. Does this payment include nursery children?
A. No, nursery aged children are currently not legally entitled to free school meals. The current statutory entitlement is 600 hours per year and does not include the provision of food. 

Q. When will I receive my payments?
A. We aim to have payments issued by Thursday 22 December 2022. Payment dates for future holiday periods will be confirmed nearer the time. 

Q. Will I get a payment for each of my children?
A. Yes, you will receive a payment for each eligible child or young person.

Q. Do I need to apply for this payment?
A. No. The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously. In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. How long do I have to cash-in my PayPoint voucher?
A. The voucher is valid for 1 month from the date of issue.

Q. How do I redeem my PayPoint voucher?
A. Your voucher can be redeemed for cash at any PayPoint outlet, of which there are more than 100 across South Lanarkshire. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching on the PayPoint website.

Q. Can I cash my PayPoint voucher online?
A. No. PayPoint payment vouchers can only be redeemed from a PayPoint outlet. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching on the PayPoint website.

Q. I believe I should have received payment and haven’t, who do I contact?
A. You should use our enquiry form.

If you have any other questions about free school meals during school holidays use our enquiry form.

As part of a package of measures aimed at providing additional financial support to households during the current cost of living crisis, we will provide cash payments to households with children in receipt of free school meals to cover weekend days from the beginning of November 2022, up to the end of March 2023.

In line with the current level of funding provided to cover school holiday periods, payments will be made monthly, with five payments made in total covering November 2022 – March 2023.

A full breakdown of future payments is detailed below:

Payment Value No. of weekends covered Payment date
November 2022 £20 4 4 November 2022
December 2022 £20 4 2 December 2022
January 2023 £25 5 To be confirmed
February 2023 £20 4 To be confirmed
March 2023 £20 4 To be confirmed

The above payments are in addition to support delivered through the continuation of free school meals over the school holidays.

Payment dates for future weekends will be confirmed nearer the time. 

Although all P1 to P5 pupils receive a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements, the payments referred to above will only be made if you get any of the following benefits and are therefore eligible for free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and your earned income is less than £660 as assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions in the assessment period immediately preceding the application for free school meals)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit only (with a gross annual income less than £17,005 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice TC602)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit (with a gross annual income less than £7,920) as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The payment will be made directly to your bank account using the details we hold for making the free school meals holiday payments, along with the footwear and clothing grant payments made previously.

In exceptional circumstances, we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. Who is eligible to receive a free school meal payment during the weekend from November 2022 – March 2023?
A. Any household with a child or young person eligible for free school meals who get any of the benefits listed above. This includes primary, secondary, and ASN schools. For more information on whether you are eligible, see the Free school meals page.

Q. Are all children in P1-P5 eligible for this payment?
A. No. Although all P1 to P5 pupils automatically get a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements you will only get this payment if you get any of the benefits listed above. For more information on eligibility see the Free school meals page.

Q. Does this payment include nursery children?
A. No, nursery-aged children are not legally entitled to free school meals. The current statutory entitlement is 600 hours per year and does not include the provision of food. 

Q. When will I receive my payments?
A. We aim to have the December 2022 payments issued by Friday 2 December 2022. Payment dates for future weekend periods will be confirmed nearer the time. 

Q. Will I get a payment for each of my children?
A. Yes, you will receive a payment for each eligible child or young person.

Q. Do I need to apply for this payment?
A. No. The payment will be made directly to your bank account using the details held for making the free school meal holiday payments, along with the footwear and clothing grant payments made previously. In exceptional circumstances, we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. How long do I have to cash-in my PayPoint voucher?
A. The voucher is valid for 1 month from the date of issue.

Q. How do I redeem my PayPoint voucher?
A. Your voucher can be redeemed for cash at any PayPoint outlet. There are more than 100 across South Lanarkshire. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching the PayPoint website.

Q. Can I cash my PayPoint voucher online?
A. No. PayPoint payment vouchers can only be redeemed from a PayPoint outlet. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching on the PayPoint website.

Q. I believe I should have received payment and haven’t, who do I contact?
A. You should use our enquiry form.

If you have any other questions about free school meals during the weekend from November 2022 – March 2023 use our enquiry form.

In line with the industrial action that took place on 24 November 2022, a retrospective payment covering this day will be made by the following date:

  • Friday 2 December 2022 – £2.50 per eligible child or young person

The payment will be added to the free school meals weekend payment.

Although all P1-5 pupils receive a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements the payment referred to above will only be made if you get any of the following benefits and are therefore eligible for free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and your earned income is less than £660 as assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions in the assessment period immediately preceding the application for free school meals)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit only (with a gross annual income less than £17,005 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice TC602)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit (with a gross annual income less than £7,920) as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously.

In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. Who is eligible to receive a retrospective free school meal payment covering the industrial action on 24 November?
A. Any household with a child or young person eligible for free school meals who get any of the benefits listed above. This includes primary, secondary and ASN schools. For more information on whether you are eligible, see the Free school meals page.

Q. Are all children in P1-P5 eligible for this payment?
A. No. Although all P1 to P5 pupils automatically get a free school meal in school, in line with Scottish Government funding arrangements you will only get this payment if you get any of the benefits listed above. For more information on eligibility see the Free school meals page.

Q. Does this payment include nursery children?
A. No, nursery aged children are currently not legally entitled to free school meals. The current statutory entitlement is 600 hours per year and does not include the provision of food. 

Q. When will I receive my payment?
A. We aim to have payments issued by Friday 2 December 2022.

Q. Will I get a payment for each of my children?
A. Yes, you will receive a payment for each eligible child or young person.

Q. Do I need to apply for this payment?
A. No. The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments, along with the Covid-19 support payments made previously. In exceptional circumstances we may pay by cheque or PayPoint voucher.

Q. How long do I have to cash-in my PayPoint voucher?
A. The voucher is valid for 1 month from the date of issue.

Q. How do I redeem my PayPoint voucher?
A. Your voucher can be redeemed for cash at any PayPoint outlet, of which there are more than 100 across South Lanarkshire. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching on the PayPoint website.

Q. Can I cash my PayPoint voucher online?
A. No. PayPoint payment vouchers can only be redeemed from a PayPoint outlet. You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet by searching on the PayPoint website.

Q. I believe I should have received payment and haven’t, who do I contact?
A. You should use our enquiry form.

If you have any other questions about this payment, please use our enquiry form.