ELIGIBILE families will begin to receive automatic payment of certain benefits from this week, following the expansion of the Scottish Child Payment.

Those who also qualify for the Best Start early learning and school age payments will not need to apply for them separately.

Social Security Scotland will send a text message to recipients when they check for eligibility and then write to them to advise of the payment.

Some 400,000 children in Scotland are now thought to be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment, which is open to youngsters aged under 16.

The automatic award of the Best Start payments, each of which are worth just over £250, was announced in April this year in order to simplify the system.

Social security minister Ben Macpherson said: “Our extension to the Scottish Child Payment and its increase to £25 per child per week has been widely welcomed and will make a significant difference to families across the country.

“The increase represents a rise of 150% in just eight months.

“The increase and extension was described as a watershed moment in tackling child poverty by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and already people have applied in their tens of thousands.

READ MORE: Scottish child payment: Am I eligible?

“Tackling child poverty is a key mission for the Scottish Government and automating payments, where we have the information we need to do so, will mean parents and carers automatically getting the financial support they are eligible for paid directly to them.

“We are committed to making sure that receiving our five family payments is as straightforward as possible, using our limited social security powers and resources to help.”