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Scottish Government Disability Assistance Consultation

Scottish Government Disability Assistance Consultation

OPFS Survey of Single Parents

OPFS is asking single parents about their views on the Disability Assistance consultation to inform our response to the Scottish Government. You can complete as many or as few questions as are relevant to you. This survey closes on 7th June 2019.

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Best Start Scotland

Best Start Scotland

Best Start Grant 

The Scottish Government has now replaced the Sure Start Maternity grant with Best Start Pregnancy and Baby grant. Qualifying families will receive £600 from 25th week of pregnancy to 6 months after the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any following children.

The Best Start Grant includes 3 different grants:

  • The pregnancy and baby grant- to help with the costs of pregnancy or having a new baby.
  • The early learning grant– A payment of £250 when your child starts nursery
  • The school age grant– A further payment of £250 to help with the additional costs when your child start school

The Early Learning Payment open for applications. The £250 Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

You can apply from your child’s second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

Best start grant school age applications open 3rd June 2019, eligible families will receive £250 to help with things such as educational toys and after school activities.

You don’t need to have received the pregnancy and baby grant to be eligible for the early learning grant or the school age grant, as long as you meet the qualifying criteria.

Who can get it?

You’ll be eligible for best start grant if you get any of the following benefits:

  • Universal credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit

If you’re under 19 and someone else is claiming child benefit, child tax credit or universal credit for you, you’ll be eligible for best start grant regardless of income.

People who have adopted a baby or who have started looking after a baby as a kinship carer can also apply for the grant. They will have until the end of the day before the child’s first birthday to apply.

If you have twins or a multiple birth £600 is payable per child, if you have no other children living with you. If there are other children living with you, it is £300 per child in a multiple birth, plus one supplement of £300.

Further information about Best Start Scotland can be found at mygov.scot or by calling 0800 182 2222

How to claim

Apply to the Scottish Government. Scottish Government Best Start Grant.

Best Start Foods 

Healthy Start vouchers will become known as Best Start Foods by summer 2019.  The paper vouchers will be replaced by prepaid digital smartcards. The weekly allowance will rise from the current £3.10 to £4.25. These can be used for milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins for pregnant women and eligible families.

Find out if you qualify for Healthy Start Vouchers.

Baby Box

All new-born babies in Scotland are entitled to a baby box. The box contains useful items and can also be used as a safe place to sleep. When you’re about 20-24 weeks pregnant your midwife will fill in a baby box registration card with you. The box will be delivered to you 4 weeks before your baby’s due date. Scotland’s Baby Box. 

See our Maternity Rights advice guide for income and benefits for single parents in Scotland.

Call or email the Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323 if you need advice.

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Carer’s Allowance Supplement Scotland

Carer’s Allowance Supplement Scotland

The Scottish Government is paying a £442 per year supplement to people in receipt of carer’s allowance.

A new benefit to replace carer’s allowance, called Carer’s Assistance, will be introduced which pays the same amount as income support and jobseekers allowance. Until this benefit is available carer’s will receive the supplement to top up their existing carer’s allowance.

If you are receiving carer’s allowance at the moment you do not need to claim the supplement. It will be paid automatically. It is paid in two equal amounts of £221.

This is paid twice a year with the next payment expected in June and December 2019. This money will not affect any other benefit you are receiving.

See Carer’s Allowance Supplement for more information. You can call the Carer’s Allowance Supplement helpline on 0800 182 2222.

New Young Carer Grant

Young carers aged 16-18 in Scotland who do not currently qualify for Carer’s Allowance, may be eligible for a new £300 annual payment to help them. The Young Carer Grant will be paid from autumn 2019. We will update you on this when information becomes available.

Carer’s Support Scotland has useful information for people who are or have recently become a carer.

Call or email the Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 0323 if you would like to speak to an adviser. See related advice guides Disability Benefits for Single Parents and Money for Single Parents.

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Calls for urgent delivery of income supplement as local statistics show rising child poverty across Scotland

Calls for urgent delivery of income supplement as local statistics show rising child poverty across Scotland

  • In some Scottish constituencies, more than a third of children are growing up in poverty
  • Local authority data is listed below.

Scottish members of End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, are calling on Holyrood Ministers to urgently introduce a cash boost for low-income families in Scotland and for UK government to end the freeze on working age benefits. This comes as new data published today shows that over 30% of children are trapped in poverty in some Scottish Parliament constituencies. At a national level the tide has turned and child poverty is rising, reversing the progress made in reducing child poverty levels across the country. (more…)

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A new Job Grant for young people who face barriers to gaining employment

A new Job Grant for young people who face barriers to gaining employment

A new Job Grant proposed by Scottish Government will provide support to young people with the costs of starting work has been warmly welcomed by OPFS. It will be paid to 16-24-year olds who have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit. OPFS organised workshops to enable young single mothers to give feedback on their experiences of the UK social security system and their views on the new Job Grant. We recommended recognising that there are certain groups of young people who face more considerable barriers and challenges to gaining and sustaining paid work- young single mothers; disabled young people and young care leavers for example.

View the full submission

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Can you get help with childcare costs if you have more than 2 children?

Can you get help with childcare costs if you have more than 2 children?

Yes, you can get help to pay for childcare for all qualifying children even if you only get child tax credit, universal credit and help with housing costs for two.

If you are affected by the ‘2 child limit’ you can still claim for help to pay for childcare for your third or subsequent children.

You can claim from working tax credit, as long as you work an average of 16 hours per week or more, or from universal credit no matter how many hours you work.

Qualifying children are those you are responsible for up to the age of 15, or 16 if you get a disabled child element for them in child tax credit or universal credit. The childcare provider must be registered with the Care Inspectorate.

The amount of help towards childcare costs is affected by your earnings and is capped. The maximum amount you can get is:

Working tax credit

  • 70% of £175 (£122.50) per week for one child
  • 70% of £300 (£210) per week for 2 or more children

Universal credit

  • 85% of £760 (£646.35) per month for one child
  • 85% of £1300 (£1,108.04) per month for 2 or more children

See Benefits for children born after April 2017

See the Money If You Are Working advice guide for more childcare information or call our lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323.

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New Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

New Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

The Early Learning Payment is £250 to help eligible families with the costs when your child is two to three and half.

It’s part of Best Start Grant, a package of three payments to help families in Scotland at key stages in a child’s life.

Parents or cares who get certain benefits or tax credits can apply. And you can still apply even if your child is not taking up a nursery place. (more…)

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Your Parenting Plan

Your Parenting Plan

What is a Parenting Plan?

A ‘Parenting Plan’ is a voluntary agreement between you and your child’s other parent about arrangements for your children.

They can be used by parents who are separating, or who have never lived together as a couple, instead of asking a court to decide.

You can choose what you need to agree on in your Parenting Plan. For example, where your children will live, when you will spend time with your children, who else can look after them or how they’ll spend school holidays and birthdays.

The updated guide has lots of useful information and resources for parents to work through together without the expense of solicitors and legal professionals.

How to make a Parenting Plan

Download guidance on how to make a Parenting Plan.

Make a Parenting Plan

Download our advice guides for information about Separation and Divorce or Contact with your chilrdren 

Call the Lone Parent Helpline on freephone 0808 801 0323 if you need advice.

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Benefits and other changes for single parents from April 2019

Benefits and other changes for single parents from April 2019

Universal Credit

Universal credit is now available throughout Scotland for all new claims. People getting legacy benefits will be moved onto universal credit by a Managed Migration.

Managed migration will be piloted in July 2019 for a few claimants, but doesn’t get fully underway until the end of 2020.

The Severe Disability Premium does not exist in Universal Credit.  If you are getting Severe Disability Premium in a legacy benefit  you will not be able to move on to Universal Credit, except through managed migration.

Universal Credit work allowance -The amount of money that you can earn before your universal credit award starts to be reduced will increase for people with children or people with limited capability for work.

From July 2019 the 12-month ‘grace period’ from the Minimum Income Floor will be extended to all gainfully self-employed claimants who are moved over to Universal Credit by managed migration. It will only be extended to new claimants from September 2020.

To be gainfully self-employed means:

  • your main employment is self-employment.
  • you have self-employed earnings.
  • your work is organised, developed, regular and you expect to make a profit.

Paying back an advance

Starting in October 2019 deductions from Universal Credit, to repay an advance payment, will be reduced from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance. Deductions are made from your monthly Universal Credit payment.

The first deduction is made on the day you get your first payment and you’ll have up to 12 months to pay back the advance.

Personal tax allowance

Workers will see their personal tax allowance rise to £12,500 from 6 April. This means you can earn £12,500 before you have to pay any income tax.

National minimum wage

  • £8.21 for people over 25
  • £7.70 for people aged 21 to 24
  • £6.15 for people aged 18 to 20
  • £3.90 for apprentices

National Minimum Wage Rates 2019/20

Carer’s Allowance

From April 19 the rate for Carer’s allowance increased to £66.15

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment available for eligible carer’s in Scotland. This is paid twice a year with the next payment expected in June and December 2019. See Carer’s Allowance Supplement for more details.

Best Start Grant

The Best Start Grant has now replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland. The Grant comes in 3 parts to help families in the key early years and starting school.

The Early Learning Payment is now open for applications from 29 April 2019. The £250 Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

You can apply from your child’s second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

Best start grant school age applications open 3rd June 2019, eligible families will receive £250 to help with things such as educational toys and after school activities.

Further information about Best Start Scotland can be found at mygov.scot or by calling 0800 182 2222

See our Best Start update

Call our advice and information team on the lone parent helpline 0808 801 0323 if you need advice.

 

 

 

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Saturday fun with the Dads’ Club

Saturday fun with the Dads’ Club

The Dads’ Clubs in Edinburgh organise free activities and outings each Saturday for single fathers and their young children, including men who only see their children for part of the time. A recent Saturday trip to the Queensferry Lifeboat station was fun and at the same time educational. Dads and children were taught about safety near water and got to sit in a lifeboat with lots of questions asked of the lifeboat team. (more…)

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