If you need help with your Healthy Start vouchers claim, please call the Healthy Start Issuing Unit 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 voucher 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:
- Income Support.
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- Maximum Child Tax Credit, and you do not qualify for Working Tax Credit (unless it is during the four week run-on period after you stop working or after your hours drop to below 16 a week).
- Universal Credit (you must earn no more than £408 per month after tax and national insurance to qualify. That includes the earnings of a partner you live with).
If you are pregnant and under 18 it doesn’t matter whether you are on any benefits or not, you will still qualify.
You can ask your midwife or health visitor about claiming Healthy Start vouchers. 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.
A Healthy Start voucher is currently worth £4.25 per week. Gradually, the vouchers are moving into a digital form or onto a pre-payment card.
If you qualify for Healthy Start Vouchers, then once you are ten weeks pregnant, you are entitled to one Healthy Start voucher a week for yourself. When your baby is born you get another voucher. You are entitled to these two vouchers each week until your baby is one (or until it is a year since the expected date of birth, if your baby was premature). Then you are entitled to one voucher a week until your child is four. You need to make sure you claim Child Tax Credit or the child element of Universal Credit before your baby is four months old to make sure you get all your vouchers and they do not stop after your baby is born.
If you have more than one child, you get a voucher for each, so, for example, if you have one child under one and one under four you would get three vouchers 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.
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.