NHS Healthy Start Scheme

The NHS Healthy Start Scheme allows eligible families (in receipt of benefits) to receive a pre-paid Healthy Start card with money topped up monthly, to purchase healthy foods and access to free vitamins. The scheme acts as a nutritional safety net, to support better eating habits in low-income families and in young pregnant women. 

These familiies will be able to use their monthly Healthy Start money to purchase: 

  • fruit and vegetables (fresh/frozen/tinned) 
  • fresh, dried, or tinned pulses (no added sugar/salt) 
  • plain cows milk  
  • infant formula – stage one and cow’s milk only (not follow-on milk) 
  • free Healthy Start Mother and child vitamins (collected from children centres) 


To qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme you must be pregnant or have children under the age of 4 and be receiving one of the following benefits: 

  • Child Tax Credit (if family’s annual income is less than £16,190) 
  • Income Support 
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance 
  • Universal Credit (Family take home pay less than £408/month) 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 
  • you or your partner get Working Tax Credit run-on only  
  • Pension Credit  

You can also apply if pregnant and under the age of 18 and not on benefits.

No recourse to public funds  

If you are unable to claim public funds due to your lack of immigration status, you can still apply for the Healthy Start Scheme if you have parental responsibility for at least one British child who is less than 4 years old and your family’s take-home pay is less than £408 per month.

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