Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments

The Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments were previously known as the COVID Hardship Grants.

What is the grant and who is eligible?

Families with children in receipt of free school meals due to reasons of low income are eligible for the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment. Eligibility for free school meals based on low income, is where the household is in receipt of:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credits)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, with an income of less than £17,005
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of up to £7,920
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £660
  • Universal Credit, with a single parent/carer working less than 16 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £17,005
  • Universal Credit, with both parents/carers working less than 24 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £17,005

2022 payments

  • Spring Payment - £130 – deadline for new FSM applications 1 April to qualify for SCP bridging payment
  • Summer Payment - £130 – deadline for new FSM applications 1 July to qualify for SCP bridging payment
  • Autumn Payment - £130 – deadline for new FSM applications 14 October to qualify for SCP bridging payment
  • Winter Payment - £260 – deadline for new FSM applications 23 December to qualify for SCP bridging payment

The payment is per child not per household.

P1 to P5 pupils receiving free school meals due to universal provision, not due to low income, are not eligible.

P1 to P5 pupils where the family meet the benefit criteria for the free schools meals will receive the grant and should apply for free school meals if they have not already. 

We are using the information on who is currently in receipt of free school meals to verify entitlement, so families should apply for free school meals where they have not been automatically awarded them.

All families currently receiving free school meals, who were awarded the benefit before 1st July 2022, must complete a new application for free school meals, to renew their entitlement and update their details.  Applications must be submitted by 14th October 2022 to qualify for the Autumn 2022 Scottish Child Payments’ Bridging Payment.

What can the grant be used for?

There are no restrictions on how families choose to spend the additional payment and it is anticipated that common uses may include paying for food, fuel, and other essentials.

What my if bank details change?

Please update your bank details online. 

Who is eligible for free school meals due to low income?

Families with children in receipt of free school meals due to reasons of low income are eligible for the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment. Eligibility for free school meals based on low income, is where the household is in receipt of:
•    Income Support
•    Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
•    Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
•    Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
•    Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, with an income of less than £17,005
•    Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of up to £7,920
•    Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
•    Universal Credit with a monthly earned income from your employer of not more than £660
•    Universal Credit, with a single parent/carer working less than 16 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £17,005
•    Universal Credit, with both parents/carers working less than 24 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £17,005

Who will not get the payment?

You will not get the payment if your child: 
•    gets universal free school meals in primary 1 to 5 and you do not meet the eligibility criteria 
•    does not go to a council school 
•    is home educated 
•    is in pre-school

When will new free school meals applications be processed?

New free school meal applications will be processed on an ongoing basis by schools. 
Where we already hold evidence that you are entitled to these benefits, we will automatically award them and notify you via email or SMS message. 

When do I get the grant?

  • Spring 2022 – you will receive payment to clear to your account between Friday 25 March and Wednesday 30 March. 
  • Summer 2022 - you will receive payment to clear to your account between Wednesday 22 June and Friday 24 June. 
  • Autumn 2022 - Payment to clear to your account between Friday 7 October and Wednesday 12 October.
  • Winter 2022 - Payment to clear to your account between Wednesday 14 December and Friday 16 December.

Where you apply for free school meals close to the payment period, we will process your application and when approved, make payment as follows:

  • Spring 2022 –Applications approved after Thursday 17 March or received by 1 April and then approved will receive payment between 27 April and 29 April.
  • Summer 2022 - Applications received after 20 June up to 1 July will receive payment between 13 July and 15 July.
  • Autumn 2022 - Applications received after 22 September up to 14 October will receive payment between November 16 and 18 November.
  • Winter 2022 - Applications received after 8 December up to 23 December will receive payment between 18 January and 20 January 2023. Applications approved after 8 December up to 23 December will receive payment between 18 January and 20 January 2023.

How do I get the money?

A cash payment by bank transfer is preferable and alternative methods would be used where there is not a bank account or in other circumstances, such as debt, which would mean that a payment into a bank account would not achieve the aims of payment. You can ask for an alternative payment when you apply.

Frequently asked questions

Any bounced payments will be re-issued after we have been refunded the money from you bank and confirmed new bank details confirmed.

It may be that the information in your claim did not match the information held by your child’s school. This could be the address or who the main contact is for the child.  It may also be that an incorrect code to apply was used. In these cases, we will contact you to check your details and eligibility. 

Your payment depends on the information held by your child’s school. If you have not received your payment, or there are other issues with your payment, you should contact your child’s school who can check your free school meals status. 
If this does not resolve the matter, your child’s school can contact the payments team to investigate further.
 

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