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Healthy Start Food Vouchers - England, Wales, Northern Ireland

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old and live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you could get Healthy Start Vouchers to help buy some basic foods.

1. What are Healthy Start Food Vouchers?

There is a different scheme in Scotland. If you live in Scotland, read our guide on Best Start Foods - Scotland.


Healthy Start Food Vouchers are vouchers that can be used to buy healthy foods.

They are for pregnant people and people who are responsible for children aged under 4.

Healthy Start Food Vouchers can be exchanged for plain cows' milk, plain fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk.

With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins..

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.

Applies to: England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Age Rules: There are no specific age rules

Type of benefit: Non means tested.

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

Administered by: National Health Service (NHS)

2. Can I get Healthy Start Food Vouchers?

 

You can get Healthy Start Food Vouchers and vitamins if you are at least ten weeks pregnant, or have a child under four, 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 can get in the four weeks after you have stopped working enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit..

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

  • You are under 18 and at least 10 weeks pregnant, or
  • You live with your partner and your partner gets the benefit, or 

  • You are the dependent child of someone who is getting the benefit, or

  • You have a child aged under 4, have no recourse to public funds, and your household has earnings of less than £408 per month.

Once you have had your baby, you can still get Healthy Start Food Vouchers and vitamins for any child up to the age of 4, as long as you still meet one of the conditions listed above.

Last updated August 2021

3. How much are Healthy Start Food Vouchers worth?

You get Healthy Start Food Vouchers worth:

  • £4.25 a week if you are pregnant

  • £8.50 a week for each baby aged under one

  • £4.25 a week for each child aged over one but under four.

How will I get my Healthy Start Food Vouchers?

Healthy Start Food Vouchers are received by post every four weeks. The vouchers can be used in most UK supermarkets but cannot be used online.

Healthy Start Food Vouchers and other benefits

Healthy Start Food Vouchers do not count as income when working out your entitlement to other benefits.

4. How do I claim Healthy Start Food Vouchers?

To claim Healthy Start Food Vouchers, you should fill in a claim form.

The form is in a leaflet called 'Healthy Start', which you can get from your midwife or doctor. You can also download the form or apply online on the Healthy Start website.

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

When will my Healthy Start Food Vouchers claim begin?

A Healthy Start Food Vouchers claim begins from the date the claim is received. Claims cannot be backdated.

Change of circumstances

If your circumstances change you should inform the Healthy Start Food Vouchers service. Vouchers will not continue to be paid if you do not meet the qualifying conditions.