Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the Healthy Start scheme.
- Who qualifies for Healthy Start?
- How does the scheme work?
- How many vouchers do families get?
- Where can I find the application form for Healthy Start?
- Who should complete the form?
- How quickly will applicants get their Healthy Start vouchers?
- What kind of advice do I need to provide when I sign the application form?
- If I become aware of a retailer accepting vouchers for non-Healthy Start foods or other products, what should I do?
- Are materials available in other languages?
- How do beneficiaries get their free Healthy Start vitamins?
- Can I call the Healthy Start helpline on behalf of someone else?
Who qualifies for Healthy Start?
Women who are pregnant or families with a child under four years old and who are on certain benefits qualify for Healthy Start. All pregnant women under the age of 18 qualify – whether or not they are on benefits. You can see the qualifying criteria here.
How does the scheme work?
Families who qualify for Healthy Start get vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk.
How many vouchers do families get?
- Pregnant women receive one voucher each week (£3.10)
- Babies under one year old get two vouchers each week (£6.20)
- Children aged from one to four years get one voucher a week (£3.10).
Where can I find the application form for Healthy Start?
Bulk orders of the application leaflet ‘Free milk, fruit, veg and vitamins for you and your family’ can be ordered from DH Orderline: phone 0300 123 1002 or Textphone 0300 123 1003, or order online at www.orderline.dh.gov.uk, quoting the code HS01 when ordering.
You can also download the application form from here:
Beneficiaries can order single copies of the application form from the Healthy Start helpline:
0845 607 6823.
Who should complete the form?
Pregnant women or families who qualify are responsible for filling in most of the form. Your job is to fill in Part B of the form confirming the expected estimated day of delivery (EDD) and/or the date/s of birth of any children under four years old. It is important that section B is fully completed, or the application cannot be processed. You must be a registered health professional to sign Part B of the application form (midwife, health visitor, doctor or nurse).
How quickly will applicants get their Healthy Start vouchers?
Within two weeks of their application being approved; after that vouchers are sent out every four weeks. If they have not heard from the Issuing Unit within two weeks, the beneficiary should call the helpline: 0845 607 6823.
If the applicant stops getting benefits or their circumstances change (for example they move home), they must inform HMRC Tax Credits or their local Jobcentre Plus.
What kind of advice do I need to provide when I sign the application form?
Signing the Healthy Start application form is a great opportunity to talk with women and families about healthy eating, breastfeeding, vitamin supplements and nutrition for pregnant women, new mums, babies and young children.
You can get more information from the HS52A leaflet, which is available to download here.
If I become aware of a retailer accepting vouchers for non-Healthy Start foods or other products, what should I do?
Call the Healthy Start helpline on 0845 607 6823 in confidence with the name and address of the shop and we will follow it up.
Are materials available in other languages?
Yes, we have downloadable bilingual leaflets and posters in Urdu, Bengali and Somali. You can download these here.
There is also a bilingual application leaflet in Welsh (HS01W) that you can download from the link above or order from DH Orderline: phone 0300 123 1002 or order online at www.orderline.dh.gov.uk
How do beneficiaries get their free Healthy Start vitamins?
Healthy Start vitamins contain the appropriate amounts of the recommended vitamins for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children aged from six months to five years (unless they are drinking 500ml or more of infant formula milk per day).
- Healthy Start women’s vitamin tablets contain folic acid and vitamins C and D
- Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops contain vitamins A, C and D.
A green vitamin coupon is included on every second voucher letter and beneficiaries need to take it to a local distribution point to exchange it for their vitamins. The coupon directs beneficiaries to ask their midwife or health visitor where they can collect the vitamin locally.
Health professionals are encouraged to find out where their local distribution points are. NHS organisations and boards must ensure that arrangements are in place to supply both kinds of vitamins.
Can I call the Healthy Start helpline on behalf of someone else?
Yes, you can if you follow this guidance:
If you are asking a general question for someone else – e.g. asking how to get hold of an application form, you won’t need to provide proof that you’ve got their permission. An easy way to get an application form without calling the helpline is to download one here
Discussing personal information – one off call
If you call the helpline for someone else and need to discuss their personal circumstances, the person you’re calling for must give their permission. You’ll both need to be present when the call is made and the helpline will ask them to confirm that they are happy for you to talk for them. To get the best from the helpline, please make sure you have all the information you need before you call – especially their full name, address and national insurance number.
Discussing personal information – helping Healthy Start families longer term
If you are supporting someone getting Healthy Start vouchers over a period of time – perhaps because you work with social services, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, or another organisation, the best way to engage with the helpline is to send a letter on your official headed paper containing:
your name, the organisation you work for, your role and your address and telephone number
their full name, address, and national insurance number
their confirmation (with their signature and date) confirming they are happy for you to talk to the helpline about their entitlement to Healthy Start.
You can scan and email the letter to: email@example.com
You can fax the letter to: 0845 051 8362 FAO Healthy Start team
You can post the letter to: Healthy Start Issuing Unit, PO Box 1067, Warrington, WA55 1EG
An example template you could use for this letter is available to download.