Healthy Start

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 which you can use 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 to support pregnancy and breastfeeding, and vitamin drops for babies and young children up to the age of 4.

If you need any further information about Healthy Start, go online to or speak to your health visitor or midwife.

How much you’ll get

You’ll get money added onto your Healthy Start card every 4 weeks.

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week (£17 every 4 weeks)
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old (£34 every 4 weeks)
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old (£17 every 4 weeks)

Your money will stop when your child is 4 years old, or if there is a change to your benefits status.

You can split payments between your Healthy Start card and your normal bank card or cash. Some shops will need to do this as separate transactions. You can use your Healthy Start card at a self-checkout but you will only be able to split payments between your card and cash.

Do not worry if you make a mistake when using your Healthy Start card to buy healthy food with other shopping. It will not affect your benefit payments.

Where to use your card

You can use your Healthy Start card at any shop that sells milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables, and accepts Mastercard® payments. This could be small local shops or large supermarkets.

You cannot use your Healthy Start card:

  • online
  • outside of the UK, including the Republic of Ireland
  • on your phone’s wallet app
  • to withdraw cash from an ATM
  • to get cashback
  • at places such as fast food restaurants