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What is Healthy Start?

What is Healthy Start?

The Healthy Start scheme helps families buy healthy food.

If you are eligible, you will be sent a pre-paid card to use towards your weekly shop. You can use it to pay for fruit, veg, milk, and other food.

Your card will be topped up automatically every 4 weeks. You can use it in any shop or market that accepts Mastercard.

How much money will I get?

  • If you are pregnant, you can get £4.25 per week.
  • If your child is under one, you can get £8.50 per week.
  • If your child is 1-4 years old, you can get  £4.25 per week. 

The money will be automatically added to your card every 4 weeks.

How can I spend the money?

You can use the money on your Healthy Start card to pay for:

  • fresh or frozen fruit and veg (whole or chopped, packaged or loose - with no added ingredients)
  • fresh, dried, and tinned beans and pulses
  • plain cow’s milk (whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed)
  • infant formula milk

You can use your Healthy Start card in any shop or market that accepts Mastercard.

Do I qualify?

You can get a Healthy Start card if you:

  • are at least 10 weeks pregnant or
  • have a child under four years old.

Your family must also get at least one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family. (To find this, look at your Universal Credit award notice in the section “your take home pay for this month”.)

Families with No Recourse to Public Funds may also be able to apply. You should email [email protected] to talk to an advisor.

If you are under 18 and pregnant, you can get a Healthy Start card even if you don’t get any of the above benefits.

How do I apply?

How do I apply?

You can apply for your Healthy Start card online.

You do not need a signature from a health professional on your application.

How do I use my card?

How do I use my card?

Information about activating your card, using it in shops, and how to check your balance.

Extra support

Extra support

Lost your card? Having problems using it? Help is available.

  • Visit the Healthy Start website
  • Call the Healthy Start helpline: 0300 330 7010. For language support, press option 3.
Workforce resources

Workforce resources

Free resources to help you promote the Healthy Start Scheme to families.

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