If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, the Healthy Start scheme can help you to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit and get free vitamins.
You need to be claiming certain benefits to qualify. If you’re pregnant and under 18 you can claim even if you do not receive any benefits.
The NHS have launched a digital scheme that offers a prepaid card to those applying for Healthy Start instead of paper vouchers. This card will be automatically topped up every 4 weeks.
Check out this animation – how to apply online
Head to the NHS Healthy Start website for more information https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/how-to-apply/
People can apply online now for the new prepaid card, see below for more key information:
• If families are existing Healthy Start beneficiary on the paper voucher scheme, they still need to apply for the digital scheme. They will have received a letter or a leaflet within the final voucher pack.
• If families are not already a Healthy Start beneficiary, but are receiving a qualifying benefit and are pregnant or have parental responsibility for at least one child under the age of 4, they can apply online now.
• Cards need to be activated before use. This will be explained in a letter received with the card.
• Money stays on the card for 16 weeks. Any cash unused after 16 weeks is returned to Healthy Start.
• The new card can be used in most shops that accept Mastercard. This includes supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and newsagents. You can only use the card in-store though – not online.
• The card is contactless and there’s no minimum spend. Though you will need to enter your PIN the first time you use it and on certain transactions after this. The card can also be used as proof of entitlement when collecting free Healthy Start vitamins.
• You can check your card balance for free at an ATM. Though you can’t use it to withdraw cash. Or you can check your balance by calling Healthy Start’s phone number on 0300 330 2090. Calls are charged at local rates, so check how much your mobile or landline provider charges for these (many get them free with call plans).