The Healthy Start Scheme (previously known as Healthy Start Vouchers) can help people during pregnancy and with children under 4 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
As part of the scheme, you can also get ‘Healthy Start Vitamins’, which support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as vitamin drops for babies and young children – suitable from birth to 4 years old.
How does it work?
If you’re eligible for the Healthy Start Scheme, you’ll be sent a ‘Healthy Start card’ with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. The government add your benefit onto this card every 4 weeks.
With the Healthy Start Scheme you’ll get:
- £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 money will stop when your child is 4 years old, or if you do not get benefits that make you eligible.
Who can get Healthy Start?
You can get a Healthy Start card if you are at least ten weeks pregnant, or have a child under four, and you are getting:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
- Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the 4 weeks after you, your partner or carer start working less than 16 hours per week) and you do not get Child Tax Credit
You may also be eligible if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant and either:
- Under 18 years old and not getting any benefits
- Getting Child Tax Credit and not getting Working Tax Credit and your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less
- Getting income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you’re not a British citizen but your child is you might be eligible for Healthy Start depending on your immigration status.
You can Healthy Start if all the following are true:
you have at least 1 British child under 4 years old
your family earns £408 or less per month after tax
you cannot claim ‘public funds’ (for example, benefits) – either because of your immigration status or because you do not have an immigration status