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The Healthy Start Scheme - get help to buy food and milk

Find out more information and apply for The Healthy Start Scheme.

An image of the NHS Healthy Start Scheme logo. It reads: Get help to buy healthy food and contains images of basic foods such as fruit and vegetables.

The Healthy Start benefit helps give your family the best start in life. If you’re pregnant or have children under 4, you could be entitled to help to buy basic foods.

If you qualify for the Healthy Start benefit, you’ll receive:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy (from the 10th week of your pregnancy)
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

Healthy Start vouchers can be spent on:

  • cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
  • infant formula milk
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses

Eligibility

You’ll qualify for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have at least one child that’s under 4. In addition, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment).

You will also be eligible for Healthy Start if:

  • you’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
  • you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
  • you or your partner get Working Tax Credit run-on only. (Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the 4 weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week).

How to apply for Healthy Start

You can apply for Healthy Start vouchers using a paper application form. Ask your midwife or health visitor for an application form or call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823 and ask for an application form to be sent to you by post.

Or you can download the Healthy Start application form (PDF).

Print and complete the form and post it to:

Healthy Start Issuing Unit at

Freepost RRTR-SYAE-JKCR

Healthy Start Issuing Unit

PO Box 1067

Warrington

WA55 1EG

Lewisham Free Vitamin D Scheme

Those in receipt of the Healthy Start benefit are also entitled to vitamins. In Lewisham, The Lewisham Free Vitamin D scheme provides Healthy Start vitamin supplements universally to the following groups of people and is not limited to those that receive the Healthy Start benefit.

  • All pregnant women
  • New mothers for 1 year after birth
  • All children from birth until their fourth birthday