The new Scottish child payment benefit has started, with parents and carers urged to apply as soon as possible. 

Scottish child payment is a new benefit designed to tackle child poverty, and comes in addition to the UK wide child benefit.

Qualifying parents and carers will receive £40 every four weeks for each child under six. The payment is planned to be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022, subject to data on qualifying benefits being received from the DWP to enable Social Security Scotland to make top-up payments.

More than 77,000 applications for the benefit have been received since Social Security Scotland started taking applications in November. The first decisions and payments will arrive later this month. Parents and carers who have not yet applied and have a child under six are encouraged to apply today to get the maximum amount of money they are entitled to.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We’ve had a great response and this is a very large number of applications. It will take time to work through these applications and I’d like to ask families for their patience while we work as quickly as we can to process these.

She added: Scottish child payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty.

“We are proactively promoting this payment and we have written to everyone on the universal credit and HMRC tax credit databases who may be eligible to invite them to apply.”