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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.

Healthy Start Scheme 

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have children under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.

If you qualify you will 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

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


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 

If you’re receiving a qualifying benefit and are pregnant or have parental responsibility for at least one child under the age of 4, you can apply online now for the NHS Healthy Start card.

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
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