What is Healthy Start?
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.
If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. We’ll add your benefit onto this card every 4 weeks.
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 also use your card to collect:
- Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 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 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, 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.
How to apply
If you get a qualifying benefit and are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have parental responsibility for at least one child under 4 years old
You can apply online. To apply, you will need your:
- 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)
If you’re currently receiving paper vouchers for Healthy Start, these will stop once you complete the online application. You can still use your Healthy Start vouchers until their expiry date. You can find the expiry date printed on your vouchers.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
The Sure Start Maternity Grant is a £500.00 payment towards the cost of having a child. It is payable only if there are no other children in your family under the age of 16 unless it is a multiple birth or the parent is aged under 20, has no other children and is someone you claim benefit for.
If it is a multiple birth you can get £500.00 for each baby, but the number of grants is reduced by the number of other children under the age of 16 in your household.
The grant can be claimed if you or a member of your family are pregnant or have given birth in the last 6 months, It can also be claimed for a baby under 1 if, in the last 6 months, you have become responsible for the child in other circumstances (eg. adoption)
- You can also claim for a baby that is stillborn after 24 weeks pregnant.
- You must receive a qualifying means-tested benefit to be entitled.
- You can claim from 11 weeks before the baby is due and up to 6 months after the birth.