Marie McNair MSP welcomes change to the way family benefits are paid

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CLYDEBANK’S MSP has welcomed a change that will mean families who qualify for certain child benefits will be paid them without the need to apply.

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Marie McNair says the move will “remove barriers” for families who receive Scottish Child Payment and qualify for Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age payments.

The change means families who are eligible for these payments will be paid them automatically from this week, without the need to apply for them separately.

Social Security Scotland will notify clients by SMS message when they are checking eligibility for the Best Start Grants and, if they are eligible, will write to advise them of the payment.

The move to automatic awards will mean less paperwork for tens of thousands of families and ensure that families automatically receive the support to which they’re entitled.

Ms McNair said: “I welcome this change that bins the reams of paper that the Westminster DWP system is obsessed with.

“It shows that with the right ambition things can be done so much differently.

“We need to maximise take-up and remove barriers to this much welcome support, assisting children at such important stages of their development.

“This follows our game-changing extension to the Scottish Child Payment and its increase to £25 per child per week that will make a significant difference to families across the country.

“The increase of 150 per cent in just eight months was described as a watershed moment in tackling child poverty by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.”

In welcoming the change Satwat Rehman, CEO of One Parent Families Scotland, said “We are delighted that Social Security Scotland have made changes so that parents who have applied for and receive Scottish Child Payment will no longer have to fill out separate forms to receive other family benefits.

“Many of the single parents we support are not aware of the financial support available to them and would therefore be at risk of losing out.

“We hope the change to automatic payments will lead to an increase in the number of families accessing benefits they are entitled to and will ease the financial and mental strain of the cost-of-living crisis.”

Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment provides £267.65 per child to support child development, for example, travel costs, trips out and toys for home learning.

In 2022-23, it is expected that 59,000 households will receive £20 million of support through Best Start Grant.



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