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Healthy Start Food Vouchers

Key information

Healthy Start Food Vouchers can be exchanged for free milk, fruit or vegetables. You could also get free vitamin supplements.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Age Rules: There are no specific age rules

Type of benefit: Non means tested.

But in some cases you will need to be eligible for a means-tested benefit in order to qualify.

Administered by: National Health Service (NHS)



You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You can get Healthy Start Food Vouchers if you are at least ten weeks pregnant and under 18. 

Otherwise, you can get Healthy Start Food Vouchers and vitamins if you are at least ten weeks pregnant and you are getting:

If you are getting Working Tax Credit, you could get Healthy Start Food Vouchers, but only if you are receiving Working Tax Credit run-on. This is the payment you get in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more if single, and 24 hours or more if in a couple, per week.

You also qualify for Healthy Start Food Vouchers if you are not getting one of these benefits yourself but:

  • you live with your partner and your partner gets the benefit, or 
  • you are the dependent child of someone who is getting the benefit.

Once you have had your baby, you can still get Healthy Start Food Vouchers and vitamins for any child up to age four, as long as you are still getting one of the benefits listed above.

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What help does it provide?

You have to exchange the vouchers for milk, fresh fruit or fresh vegetables.

You cannot get frozen, dried or canned fruit and vegetables, or fruit and vegetables to which anything, such as fat, salt, sugar or flavourings, has been added. You cannot get fruit juice or smoothies.

Free vitamin supplements are usually available from NHS clinics and health centres but your midwife or health visitor will be able to help you with what is available locally.

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How much does it pay?

You get Healthy Start Food Vouchers worth:

  • £3.10 a week if you are pregnant
  • £6.20 a week for each baby aged under one
  • £3.10 a week for each child aged over one but under four.

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How do I make a claim?

To claim Healthy Start Food Vouchers, you should fill in a claim form and have it approved by a health professional, for example, a midwife. The form is in a leaflet called 'Healthy Start', which you can get from your midwife or doctor or from the Healthy Start website (link opens in a new window)

Or you can apply online from the Healthy Start website (link opens in a new window)

Talk to your doctor, health visitor, midwife or other health care professional about claiming vitamins.

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What documents will I need?

You will need a health care professional to certify that you are pregnant. Or if your baby has been born, you will need to show their birth certificate. In most cases, you will need a national insurance number. You may need to show evidence of your identity and evidence of your income and savings or evidence that you are claiming certain benefits.  

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Last updated: 8 April 2013

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