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Healthy Start

What is Healthy Start?

A government scheme for those who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have children under four, in low-income families in receipt of qualifying benefit.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops to buy healthy food and milk.

Do I qualify?

You must be in receipt of one of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (but only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (but only if your family earns £408 or less per month from employment)

A person also qualifies if they are under 18 and pregnant, even if they don’t get any of the above benefits

How much do I get?

You’ll get via a prepaid card:
  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

Your first card will arrive loaded and then it will automatically be topped up every 4 weeks. Your card will also include instructions on how to activate it before you can use it.

What can I buy with my Healthy Start card?

You can use your card to buy:
  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

Where can I use my Healthy Start card?

The Healthy Start card can be used in any shop that sells healthy food and milk and accepts Mastercard.
This includes:
  • supermarkets
  • your local shop
  • pharmacies
  • markets
  • petrol stations

Healthy Start Vitamins

You can also use your card to collect Healthy Start vitamins and drops. Vitamins support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding and drops support babies and young children from birth to 4 years old.

How do I apply?

*Please note that a number of claims for the Healthy Start vouchers have been unsuccessful because some parents have not added the child to their Universal Credit claim. Before applying for Healthy Start, you need to make sure that all your children under four years old are named on your Universal Credit claim as your application will be checked against this.