Deadline Reminder for Winter Family Payments
Families are being urged to make sure they don’t miss out on a double December Bridging Payment of £260.
The payment will be made ahead of the Christmas holidays to the families of children registered to receive free school meals on the basis of low income.
Families have already received up to £390 per child this year through Bridging Payments, with around 145,000 children being supported as of summer 2022.
Throughout the country, many families are affected by the cost-of-living crisis, especially those on low incomes who are most vulnerable to it.
Through the December payment, families that need additional financial assistance and guidance at this critical time can register for free school meals, enabling them to receive additional financial support.
As such, please do not miss out on this opportunity to get assistance and contact your local council as soon as possible if you are eligible but have not yet received Bridging Payments.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison is encouraging eligible families to apply before the December school holidays so they can also receive the winter Bridging Payment.
– Ms Robinson
I urge anyone who is eligible and not already in receipt of Bridging Payments to register for free school meals through their local authority as soon as possible to ensure they qualify for the December payment.
We will provide almost £40 million in support this winter through the December Bridging Payments alone and, while we expect to reach in the region of 145,000 children, we don’t want anyone to miss out.
We will also open applications for the Scottish Child Payment to all eligible under -16s from 14 November, when it will be increased to £25 per eligibile child per week – a rise of 150% in less than eight months.
We know the cost-of-living crisis is having a severe impact on many families, particularily for those on the lowest incomes. With pressures on family budgets increasing, it is more important than ever to receive all the help available.
With limited powers and a finite budget, the Scottish Government can only do so much to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis, but we continue to do as much as possible for the people who need it most.
COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson, Cllr Tony Buchanan, expressed his encouragement to eligible families.
– Cllr Tony Buchanan
With the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on our families and communities continuing to grow, as Local Government we are doing all we can to ensure that people can access the support that is available.
I encourage all families that are eligible, but not yet in receipt of Bridging Payments, to contact your local council to register for free school meals as soon as possible. Registering for free school meals is a straightforward process which will enable those families that need it most to receive additional financial support at this critical time, through the December payment.
The December Bridging Payments will be made before the start of the Christmas holidays for children who receive Free School Meals on the basis of low income on 30 November. Payments for children who are subsequently registered and become eligible for Free School Meals ahead of the Christmas holidays will be made as soon as possible in the new year.
Local councils continue to actively promote registration and uptake of Free School Meals on the basis of low income, alongside other available support for families across Scotland including the School Clothing Grant.
The Scottish Government is working with councils to ensure families who currently receive Bridging Payments are aware of the enhanced support that will become available through the Scottish Child Payment from 14 November onward.
Bridging Payments were introduced in 2021 ahead of the roll out of the Scottish Child Payment to under-16s. The £130 payments are paid quarterly by councils on behalf of the Scottish Government. Families received up to £520 per eligible child in 2021 and will receive up to £650 in 2022. Bridging Payments currently support around 145,000 school age children.
Total Scottish Government funding for the Bridging Payments will increase to an estimated £169 million across 2021 and 2022.
Scotland is the only nation in the UK offering the Scottish Child Payment, one of five family benefits delivered by the Scottish Government to support low income parents with the costs of raising a child. Scottish Child Payment is currently available to families of eligible children under 6 years old and will open to applications for under-16s from 14 November.
Information on support for households is available at gov.scot/costoflivingsupport