For Health Professionals
Healthy Start is a a UK-wide government scheme to improve the health of low-income pregnant women and families on benefits and tax credits.
Women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant and families with children under four years old qualify for Healthy Start if the family is getting:
- Income Support, or
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
- Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless the family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only*) and has an annual income of £16,190 or less (2012/13).
*Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit received in the 4 weeks immediately after a person has stopped working for 16 hours or more per week.
Women also qualify during the whole of their pregnancy if they are under 18 when they apply, even if they don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits. To continue getting support from the scheme for their babies, they must meet the same qualifying criteria as other Healthy Start families.
What do Healthy Start beneficiaries get?
- Pregnant women get one Healthy Start voucher a week worth £3.10
- Babies under the age of one get two vouchers a week worth a total of £6.20
- Children aged over one and under four get one voucher a week worth £3.10.
Vouchers are posted out every four weeks. They can be spent on milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (fruit and vegetables with nothing added), or infant formula milk in a wide variety of local shops and supermarkets and with milkmen that have registered to take part in the scheme.
Healthy Start vitamins
Every eight weeks, beneficiaries also get green vitamin coupons with their vouchers, which they can swap for Healthy Start vitamins in their local area. The coupons are either for Healthy Start women’s tablets or Healthy Start children’s drops. It is the responsibility of primary care and health trusts and health boards to make both of these vitamin products available locally to Healthy Start beneficiaries.