Free milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins
The Healthy Start Scheme provides help for eligible families and those who are pregnant to buy healthy food and milk in local shops.
The Healthy Start Scheme provides a pre-paid card to help eligible families and those who are pregnant to buy:
- plain liquid cow’s milk
- infant formula milk based on cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
- fresh, dried or tinned pulses in local shops (such as beans, peas, or lentils)
You can also use your card to request free Healthy Start vitamins which support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and/ or vitamin drops for babies and young children (suitable from birth to four years old).
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.
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, your partner or your carer get Working Tax Credit run-on only after you have reported you’re working 16 hours or less 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.
What you could be entitled to
You’ll get money added automatically onto your card every four weeks to spend on certain food and milk.
- £4.25 each week from the 10th week of your pregnancy
- £8.50 each week for children from birth to one
- £4.25 each week for children between one and four
This will stop when your child is four, or if you no longer receive benefits.
Get Healthy Start vitamins
The process for getting vitamins changed from paper applications and vouchers to the Healthy Start card. The last paper vouchers were sent out in March 2022. You can still use any valid vouchers to get free vitamins.