Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)


Healthy Start prepaid cards have replaced paper vouchers.

You can accept Healthy Start card payments if your retail store accepts Mastercard® and has a card payment facility allowing chip and pin, or contactless payments.

People can use their cards to buy the following:

  • Plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised long-life or UHT.
  • Fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables including loose, prepacked, whole, sliced, chopped, or mixed fruit or vegetables, fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water, but not those to which fat, salt, sugar, or flavouring have been added.
  • Cow’s milk-based infant formula milk. This must be labelled as suitable for use from birth and satisfy, by itself, an infant’s nutritional needs.
  • Fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, including but not limited to lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas but not those to which fat, salt, sugar, or flavouring have been added.

You are not responsible for checking which items people buy with their card. It is the responsibility of the person using the card.

If you have accepted Healthy Start vouchers

The last paper vouchers issued were valid until 24 April 2022.

You must submit any reimbursement claims before 11.59pm on 23 October 2022 or you will not receive your payments.

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