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Healthy Start

NHS Healthy Start image

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk and claim free vitamins.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Money will automatically be added to this card every 4 weeks.

How much will I get?

You will get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from (from week 10)
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old
  • Free Healthy Start vitamins

What can I buy?

You can use your card 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

You can use your Healthy Start card anywhere that sells fruit, vegetables and milk and accepts Mastercard payments.

Who can 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 (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 if:

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

You might also be eligible for Healthy Start depending on your immigration status. You can get Healthy Start if all of the following are true:

  • You have at least one British child under 4 years old
  • Your family earns £408 or less per month after tax
  • You cannot claim ‘public funds’ because of your immigration status or because you do not have an immigration status.

You can apply online, by email or phone (no printer or signatures needed)

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 – make sure you enter the exact details shown on your benefit award letter.

Top Tip 1: When typing your family’s names, ensure they are typed exactly as they appear on your other benefit award letters. All of your information must match that on your benefit awards, such as your address, or new baby. You can report any changes to your circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit Account.

Top Tip 2: Once you receive your card, keep hold of the letter it comes with. You will need your client ID on the letter when you call to Activate your card.

Complete and submit an online form

Free Healthy Start vitamins

Image of healthy start vitaminsEating a healthy, varied diet in pregnancy and early childhood will help you and your children get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. But it can be difficult to get all the vitamins you need, even if you have a balanced diet. Health experts recommend Healthy Start vitamins to make sure that you and your children get the important vitamins that you need.

You can also use your card to show proof of eligibility to collect free Healthy Start vitamins.

Multivitamins formulated especially for pregnancy and motherhood containing the recommended daily dose of folic acid and vitamins C and D.

Healthy Start | Baby | Health for Under 5sVitamin drops formulated for babies and children containing vitamin A, C and D. 

Healthy Start vitamins are available from Family Hubs across Cornwall.  Simply pop into to your nearest Family Hub with your Healthy Start card to pick up your vitamins.

Find your nearest Family Hub

Paper vouchers have switched to a digital card

Paper vouchers have stopped. If you were previously receiving paper vouchers, you will need to re-apply online to get the new pre-loaded chip and pin card.

You can still use your Healthy Start vouchers until their expiry date. You can find the expiry date printed on your vouchers.

Having issues or have questions?

Find out more about Healthy Start

If you have any further questions that we can help you with, please contact us at

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