Normally, to get a Best Start grant you or your partner must be getting a ’qualifying benefit’ on the day you apply. There is an exception to this rule if you are under 18, or if you are 18 or 19 and someone claims benefits for looking after you.
Special rules allow you to get a Best Start grant if:
your benefit has been stopped because of a sanction or because of an overpayment being recovered from your benefit; or
you have recently stopped getting universal credit (UC).
If your benefit has been sanctioned
Providing you would have been getting benefit if you hadn’t been sanctioned, you are still eligible for a Best Start grant.
But sometimes your jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) award ends, if the DWP decides that you are not available for work or are not actively seeking work. This can happen if you do not ‘sign on’ at the jobcentre, for example. In this situation, you must make a new claim for universal credit to be eligible for a best start grant.
If your benefit has been reduced to make payments to other people
If your benefit award has been reduced to nothing due to deductions to repay money you owe to another person, then you can still get a best start grant. This might be because an overpayment is being recovered from you, or you are paying off rent arrears or other debts through deductions from your benefit.
If your universal credit award has stopped recently
A special rule means that you can get a best start grant if your universal credit (UC) award has recently ended. UC is awarded based on your circumstances in a one month ‘assessment period’. If your UC has stopped but you apply within one month of the last day of an assessment period for which you had an award of UC, you are still eligible for a best start grant.
If you are awarded a qualifying benefit on appeal
- you were turned down for a Best Start grant because you were not entitled to a qualifying benefit at the time; and
- that qualifying benefit is later awarded on appeal and backdated to include the date of your application for a Best Start grant,
then a Best Start grant can be awarded to you without a new claim.