Apply for the Scheme 

Healthy Start Video

Watch this video for a summary of the scheme, how to apply and where to use the Healthy Start card.

What is the NHS Healthy Start Scheme? 

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years old, you may be eligible for the NHS Healthy Start scheme.

If you are on certain government support – or if you’re under 18 years old and pregnant – you can get help towards your weekly shop when buying milk and some healthy foods. You would also be entitled to free Healthy Start vitamins.

If you are eligible, you will receive a pre-paid Healthy Start card, which will be topped up every 4 weeks with the following:

  • £4.25 for each week of pregnancy from 10 weeks onwards and for each child aged between 1 and 4 years old
  • £8.50 per week for each child aged under 1 years old

You can use your card at any shop that sells healthy food and milk, and that accepts Mastercards. This includes supermarkets, your local shop, pharmacies, markets, petrol stations, Community Food Spaces and the Queen of Greens mobile greengrocer.

You can use the 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



How to apply: 

Visit for a full list of eligibility criteria. To apply for Health Start, you need the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • Your baby’s due date (if you are pregnant)
  • Benefit award letter (if you’re over 18 years old) – make sure you enter the exact details shown on this

Make sure that your details are up to date with HMRC or DWP; you may wish to contact them to check or update your details before you apply.

If you are not a British citizen but your child is:

The Department of Health and Social Care have temporarily extended the NHS Healthy Start scheme to British children aged under 4 years old when their parent/guardian meets the following criteria:

To apply for Healthy Start, ask for an application form via email. People who can demonstrate they meet all of these criteria can apply by emailing: [email protected]. Only use this email address, however, if you think you cannot claim public funds because of your immigration status.

Please note that not all children born in the UK are automatically British. People can check their British citizenship here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see here for information that may support you. 

This document also answers some common questions.