Healthy Start Scheme

Last updated: 19 Apr 2022

Important information about the Healthy Start scheme

The Healthy Start voucher paper scheme is ending 31 March 2022. You must reapply to the new Healthy Start prepaid card scheme as soon as possible as paper vouchers will no longer be issued from 31 March 2022. The eligibility criteria have not changed, but you must reapply. If you have paper vouchers you can use them until the expiry date printed on them.

You can apply for the digital scheme here.

For further information on the Healthy Start card scheme and frequently asked questions see here.

If you have a query about your Healthy Start card you can telephone the Healthy Start helpline: 0300 330 2090

If you need help with your Healthy Start vouchers claim, please call the Healthy Start Helpline on 0345 607 6823.

Healthy Start is a scheme to help expectant mothers, new parents and their children in England and Wales to eat healthily. In Northern Ireland, there is a similar scheme. In Scotland, there is a scheme known as Best Start Foods.

If you qualify for Healthy Start in England and Wales, you can get free vitamins, and a prepaid card towards the costs of milk, vegetables (including frozen vegetables) and fruit (or infant formula milk if you have had your baby). Tinned and dried food is also included as long as it doesn’t have fat, salt, sugar or flavouring added. You qualify for the help if you (or a member of your family who can claim benefits for you) are on:

If you are pregnant and under 18 it doesn’t matter whether you are on any benefits or not, you will still qualify.

What if I’m on income-related Employment Support Allowance?

If you are on Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, you’ll need to claim Child Tax Credit (only if you already have an existing Tax Credits claim) or switch to Universal Credit to continue to qualify for Healthy Start once your baby is born. Your ‘limited capability for work’ status should carry over to Universal Credit without automatically requiring you to undergo another medical assessment. However, please remember, most people will have their capability for work reviewed at regular intervals.

You can ask your midwife or health visitor about claiming Healthy Start. You can also find an application form on the Healthy Start website.  From 6th April 2020, you don’t have to get your application signed by a health professional. However, you may be asked to provide evidence of your eligibility for Healthy Start at any time.

Healthy Start is currently worth £4.25 per week.

If you have more than one eligible child, you get a payment for each, so, for example, if you have one child under one and one under four you would get three payments a week.

Healthy Start vouchers are accepted at many shops and most supermarkets. You can check for retailers near you on the Healthy Start website. If you  cannot use a voucher in shops within a reasonable distance of your home, you can be paid the value of the voucher instead.

Healthy Start prepaid card can be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard® and sells the eligible healthy start food items


This advice applies in England and Wales. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details, or follow the links for the Northern Irish and Scottish schemes.

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

Advice contact form


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The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.

We cannot provide advice on employment rights in Northern Ireland as the law is different. You can visit the Labour Relations Agency or call their helpline Workplace Information Service on 03300 555 300.