Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

How to apply


You’ll qualify for the Healthy Start scheme if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have at least one child that’s under 4.
In addition, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

You will also be eligible for Healthy Start if:

  • you’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
  • you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
  • you or your partner get Working Tax Credit run-on only. (Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the 4 weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week)

To find out if your family earns £408 or less per month from employment whilst claiming Universal Credit, look at your ‘take-home pay for this period’ on your monthly Universal Credit award notice.

How to apply

You can apply for Healthy Start vouchers using a paper form.

To apply for Healthy Start vouchers you should:

  1. Download the Healthy Start application form (PDF: 86KB) (opens in a new tab).
  2. Print out the form.
  3. Complete the form.
  4. Post the form to us at:

Healthy Start Issuing Unit
PO Box 1067
WA55 1EG

You can also call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823 and ask them to send one to you by post.

You can also ask a midwife or health visitor for an application form.

Check if you’re eligible

You can check if you’re eligible by applying now.

Use the check what help you could get to pay for NHS costs online service (opens in a new tab) to see if you’re eligible for other help with NHS costs.

Temporary extension to Healthy Start eligibility

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has recently agreed to temporarily extend the Healthy Start scheme to British children (aged under 4 years old), whose parent/guardian meet the financial eligibility criteria and are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of their immigration status, or their lack of immigration status.

To qualify for the temporary extension you must meet all the following criteria:

  • you have parental responsibility for at least one British child, who is less than 4 years old;
  • your family’s take-home pay is less than £408 per month; and
  • you are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of your immigration status or your lack of immigration status

If you meet the eligibility criteria for the temporary extension, email us at to request an application form. This email address is only for those who meet the temporary extension criteria.

A child with knife and fork in hand about to eat a plate of vegetables

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions that people may have about the Healthy Start scheme

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.