Are you entitled to Healthy Start?

Posted 03 Mar 2022

The 'NHS Healthy Start' scheme can help low-income households and expectant mothers to get £4.25 a week, or £8.50 a week for a family with a child under 12 months old, for items such as fruit, vegetables, milk and tinned pulses. The scheme can also help with free vitamins. 

Paper vouchers have been replaced with a prepaid card

If you received paper vouchers, you’ll need to register for a prepaid card (if you haven’t already done so) that will be automatically updated with the £4.25 (or £8.50) each week. Paper vouchers are no longer issued - although you can continue to use them until the expiry date (which can be found on your voucher). 

Apply for Healthy Start today! 

To apply for your prepaid card, visit the NHS Healthy Start website and follow the instructions. This is how it works:  

  • Cards need to be activated before use. Call 0300 330 2090 and choose option 1 to activate your card.
  • Money stays on the card for 16 weeks. Any cash unused after 16 weeks is returned to Healthy Start. 
  • The card can be used in most shops that accept Mastercard. This includes supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and newsagents. You can only use the card in-store though - not online.  
  • The card is contactless and there's no minimum spend. Though you will need to enter your PIN the first time you use it and on certain transactions after this. The card can also be used as proof of entitlement when collecting free Healthy Start vitamins. Find your nearest vitamin provider.   
  • You can check your card balance for free at an ATM. Though you can't use it to withdraw cash. To check your balance call Healthy Start's phone number on 0300 330 2090. Calls are charged at local rates, so check how much your mobile or landline provider charges for these (many get them free with call plans).
  • Prepaid card payments will only be backdated to the date you apply.

If you think a mistake has been made or are having problems with the application, contact Healthy Start: Contact us – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)