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Young asylum seekers to access Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment

Image credit: Angelika Warmuth/DPA/PA Images

Young asylum seekers to access Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment

Young asylum seekers will now be eligible to apply for the Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment after the Scottish Government reached an agreement with the Home Office that it would not jeopardise their immigration status.

People seeking asylum are prohibited from accessing the bulk of the welfare system, and those subject to immigration control have ‘no recourse to public funds’, meaning they cannot apply for support such as child benefit, universal credit, disability benefits and the Scottish Welfare Fund.

But following the introduction of the Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment in December, which provides a parent with £600 for the first child and £300 for each subsequent child, the Scottish and UK governments have agreed to exclude the benefit from the list of restricted public funds.

Eligible under-18s will now be able to receive the payment without jeopardising their immigration status.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “When we launched the Pregnancy and Baby Payment I said it would help give all children in Scotland the best possible start in life and I meant that for all babies born in Scotland.

“While the number of births to young people seeking asylum in Scotland is estimated to be small, this sends a big message about the type of country we want to be: inclusive, progressive and fair.

“It shows the difference we can make with our new social security powers. By expanding the eligibility and making it easier to apply we are delivering substantive improvements on the DWP system.”

The best start grant has two further payments, one at nursery age and one at school age.

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