Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

Using Healthy Start

I do not want to buy milk, fruit, or vegetables – can I spend my payment on something else for me or my baby?

If you do not want to buy cow’s milk, fresh, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables, you could use your Healthy Start payment to buy infant formula or fresh, dried, or tinned pulses. The Healthy Start card can only be used to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

Can I buy follow on formula with my Healthy Start card?

Healthy Start card cannot be used to buy follow on formula. However, you can use your card to buy infant formula labelled ‘suitable from birth’. Infant formula can be given to babies up to 12 months old. After 12 months, they can have cow’s milk, which you can also buy with your card.

My local shop, supermarket, or pharmacist will not take my Healthy Start food or vitamin vouchers, what should I do?

Some retailers or pharmacists are not registered to accept paper Healthy Start food or vitamin vouchers. However, the new Healthy Start card can be used in any shop that accepts Mastercard®.

Find where you can collect Healthy Start vitamins in your area on the NHS website (opens in a new tab).

Can I use my Healthy Start card for online shopping?

No. However, the Healthy Start card can be used in any shop that sells healthy food and milk and accepts Mastercard®.

Can I use my Healthy Start card to withdraw money from an ATM or request cashback?

No, the card can only be used in store. You cannot purchase more than the balance on your card. You can check your balance at an ATM or by calling us on 0300 330 7010.

Find out about call charges (opens in a new tab).