The NHS Healthy Start voucher program is changing to a pre-paid card system, requiring families to reapply for the scheme even if they are receiving paper Healthy Start vouchers.

Families will soon no longer receive Healthy Start vouchers by mail, they will have to apply for a card that will be topped up with money every 4 weeks.

You can apply for the new Healthy Start card by following this link:

Healthy Start provides money to low-income families that can be used to buy fruit, veg and formula milk.

Tinned fruit and veg as well as tinned pulses can also be bought with the Healthy Start card.

Families can get up to £8.50 per week for each child, depending on their age.

Families that are currently using the paper Healthy Start vouchers will be sent a letter through the post, asking them to apply for the new card.

The new Healthy Start card can be used in any retailer that accepts Mastercard payments, paper vouchers can be used at most supermarkets including Aldi, Tesco and Asda.

Check if you are eligible for Healthy Start at
(Poster by Visit from the Stork CIC)


Kimberly Bond, CEO of Visit from the Stork CIC said:

“People need this money, the government is making it harder and harder for people get support.

“The switch to online vouchers may be useful to new applicants but it could become a problem for people who already use them.

“The government hasn’t made much of an attempt to warn parents about the switch to the cards, which is why we’re trying to get the word out.

“We’ve already had problems with a lack of awareness of the Healthy Start vouchers.

“Less than 50% of people eligible for Healthy Start vouchers have actually applied for the scheme.

“There’s a real risk that existing Healthy Start families will not know they have to reapply.

“It also might end up decreasing the uptake of vouchers among people who don’t have access to the internet.”

Once a family has applied for the new card they must “activate” their card by contacting Healthy Start card enquiries on 0300 330 2090.

“What is even more frustrating is that the hotline to call about the new cards is a 0300 number.

“That means that you will be charged per minute just to be able to call in and activate your card!”

Kimberly urges anyone who is struggling to sign up for the Healthy Start card to contact their support worker or to contact Visit from the Stork CIC on 07724296738 or at .


Parents must reapply for Health Start or risk losing out
(Poster produced by Visit from the Stork CIC)


Families will qualify for Healthy Start if their child is a British citizen and is aged 4 or under, this applies even if the parents are not British.

If a mother is 10 weeks pregnant or more, she is also eligible for Healthy Start.

In addition, the family 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

(Taken from

The new card system allows families to use their Healthy Start money at the pace and amount that suits them.

This is in contrast to the paper vouchers that have to be used for their full value in a transaction.

How to apply



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