Early learning payment | CPAG
01 April 2021
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Who can get an early learning payment

To get a best start grant - early learning payment, you must:

Responsible for a child aged between two and three and half years

To get an early learning payment for a child you or your partner must be responsible for the child. This will usually mean that you are getting child benefit, universal credit or child tax credit for the child, but can also apply in other situations where you are caring for the child, for example if you are a kinship carer, guardian or you are adopting the child .

Usually only one early learning payment can be made for a child but this does not apply if you have become responsible for the child after someone else (who is not your partner) has received a payment. For example, you are caring for a child as a kinship carer and the child’s parent has previously received an early learning payment

Getting a ‘qualifying benefit’

If you are aged under 18 you can get an early learning payment even if you are not on a benefit and no matter what income you have.

If you are aged 18 or 19 and someone else still gets benefits for looking after you, you can get an early learning payment if the person who cares for you gets:

  • child benefit
  • child tax credit
  • universal credit
  • pension credit

You must still be included in their claim, for example as you are under 19 and still at school.

If you are 18 or over and claiming benefits yourself, you'll get an early learning payment if you or your partner 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

You can be entitled if you were getting universal credit within the last month but it has now stopped.

Read more about the qualifying benefit rules and what happens if your benefit has been cut.

Claim at the right time

You can claim any time from your child’s second birthday up to when the child is three and a half. If your claim is late, it can be treated as if it was made in time if you missed the deadline due to the coronavirus outbreak.

How much is an early learning payment

The early learning payment is £252.50.

Claiming an early learning payment

To claim you can:

If you disagree with the decision made by Social Security Scotland about your Best Start grant claim you can challenge this decision.

Read about the legislation on best start grants.