Families urged to check eligibility for £260 December payment

The payment is aimed at helping families with the cost of living.

Families urged to check eligibility for £260 December payment iStock

Families of children who receive free school meals are being urged to ensure they do not miss out on a £260 payment ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The bridging payment will be made to eligible low-income families on November 30.

It is aimed at helping families struggling with the rising cost of living.

Bridging payments of £130 were introduced in 2021 ahead of the roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment to under-16s.

They are paid quarterly by councils on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The double payment is due to be delivered to families ahead of Christmas.

All children registered for free schools meals on the basis of low family income qualify for bridging payments.

Around 145,000 school age children are estimated to be supported currently by the payments.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison urged eligible families to check that they qualify for the payment in December.

“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,” she said.

“We will provided almost £40m in support this winter through the December bridging payments along 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 November 14 when it will be increased to £25 per eligible child per week, a rise of 150% in less than eight months.”

Robison explained that it is “more important than ever” that families receive all the help that is available.

She continued: “We know the cost of living crisis is having a severe impact on many families, particularly 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, Tony Buchanan, said that registering for free school meals is a straightforward process.

“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,” said Buchanan.

“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.”