More than 7,000 low income households receive payments from Social Security Scotland
Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low income households since opening for applications in December, according to new figures from the agency.
Ministers said the support, through the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment and reaching a total £2.7m up till the end of January, amounted to the more than that spent by the DWP in the whole of 2017/18.
The agency, set up last year, received almost 14,000 applications for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment between 10 December and 31 January, with around two thirds of the applications which were processed awarded a payment.
Of those applications where a decision had been made by 31 January, around two thirds of applicants had been awarded a payment.
With the agency receiving applications from those outside Scotland, those with children over six months or people applying where they were not qualified, Social Security Scotland said it expected denial rates to reduce over time.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The response we have had to the new Best Start Grant is absolutely exceptional and I am delighted that we have now issued over £2.7 million of payments since the benefit opened in December - more in just two months than the DWP paid over a year.
“This substantial increase in support for expectant families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security. We have simplified the application process, promoted this new benefit and engaged health and childcare professionals to help us maximize take-up.
“Alongside increasing the financial support for eligible parents, we have removed the UK’s previous one child limit, reaching children who would have received nothing from the Sure Start Maternity Grant. This shows the difference we can make with our new social security powers.
“The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is helping give children the best possible start in life, and demonstrates our commitment to making Scotland the best place for a child to grow up.”