Can you claim help with your shopping through the Healthy Start Card?

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to help through the Healthy Start scheme.

The Healthy Start Card is a type of pre-paid debit card that eligible parents and pregnant women can use in most UK shops to buy milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables. The card is automatically topped up every four weeks.

Who is eligible for the Healthy Start scheme?

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 four, and are receiving one or more of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (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 more than 10 weeks 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, your partner or your carer get Working Tax Credit during the 4 week run-on after reporting you have stopped working 16 hours or more per week.

How much will you get through the Healthy Start scheme?

You’ll get money added onto your card every four weeks to spend on certain food and milk until your child turns four or you no longer receive qualifying benefits. You’ll get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4
  • Free vitamin supplements for you and your child.

How to apply

You can apply or reapply online at

To apply, you will need your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Baby’s due date (if you’re pregnant)
  • Benefit award letter if you’re over 18 (you must enter the same information that’s on this letter).

You can only apply for Healthy Start if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. However, if you live in Scotland you can apply for Best Start Foods  instead.

More information

If you would like further advice on Healthy Start or the other financial support your family may be entitled to, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service on 028 9267 8200 or email