Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

Applying for Healthy Start

How do I apply for Healthy Start vouchers?

To apply for the Healthy Start scheme, you can download a paper application form from the Healthy Start website, or you can request one from your GP or Midwife. Alternatively, you can request one from the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823.

Find out about call charges.

Can I apply online?

No, we currently only accept paper application forms. We’re hoping to launch an online application in Summer 2021.

How much are the Healthy Start food vouchers worth?

From April 2021, the value of the Healthy Start food vouchers will increase from £3.10 to £4.25. If you have a £3.10 voucher(s) you’re still able to use both vouchers together if they are within the expiry date.

How quickly will I receive my Healthy Start paper vouchers?

Within two weeks of your application being approved. After that, vouchers are sent out every four weeks. If you have not heard from the Healthy Start Issuing Unit after two weeks, call our helpline on 0345 607 6823.

Find out about call charges.

How many vouchers will I get for my children aged two and five?

If you qualify for Healthy Start, you will receive one voucher a week for your two-year-old. Healthy Start food vouchers are for children under the age of four and pregnant women only. You could get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy (from the 10th week of your pregnancy)
  • £8.50 each week for children under 1
  • £4.25 each week for children between the age of 1 and below 4 years old

My baby was premature, do I get two Healthy Start vouchers a week for more than a year?

Yes, you will continue to receive two vouchers a week until a year after the original due date provided. After your original due date, you will then get one voucher a week for your child until their 4th birthday. However, you must have already made an application to the scheme whilst pregnant to qualify for the extra vouchers. If you meet the qualifying criteria and apply for Healthy Start once your baby is born, you will receive two Healthy Start food vouchers each week until the child’s first birthday.

I’m under 18 and not on benefits. Do I qualify?

If you’re under 18 and more than 10 weeks pregnant, you qualify for Healthy Start until your baby is born. You do not need to receive any of the qualifying benefits or be getting tax credits. However, you must complete an application and send it to the Healthy Start Issuing Unit.

After your baby is born, you will only continue to qualify for Healthy Start if you get the qualifying benefits or tax credits. To make sure you continue to receive Healthy Start vouchers once your baby is born, you should:

  • call us on 0345 607 6823
  • apply for Child Tax Credits as soon as you can – your vouchers may stop without this
  • Inform Universal Credit by updating your online account

Find out about call charges.

I get Working Tax Credit. Do I qualify?

If you, your partner, or your carer get Working Tax Credit (WTC), you do not qualify for Healthy Start unless you’re under 18 and pregnant or you’re only getting the WTC four week run-on. WTC run-on is what you receive in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week. 

I’m unable to register my child’s birth, will I still get my vouchers?

You should speak to HMRC or DWP to ensure your child is included on your benefit claim so that vouchers can be issued.

I’m unable to complete part B of the application form as I’m unable to see my health visitor

Due to a change in the law as of the 6 April 2020, you no longer need to get a health professional to sign your Healthy Start application form.  This means you can leave Part B blank.  However, if you’re pregnant, you need to complete your estimated due date in Part B. Do not forget that you still need to sign the application in Part A, Section 7.

Alert: Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

If you are receiving HMRC Child Tax Credits and you have an invitation letter from the NHS, you can apply for the new service here.