Healthy Start Vouchers and vitamins

If your partner is at least 10 weeks pregnant or you have a child under four years old you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

Eligibility for Healthy Start Scheme

Is your partner at least 10 weeks pregnant or do you have a child under four coupled with an entitlement to one of the following?
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
• Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless your family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only) and an annual family income of £16,190 or less
• Universal Credit (with a family take home pay of £408 or less per month)

You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.

From 1st November 2016 Universal Credit will be a qualifying benefit for Healthy Start. If you have been receiving discretionary payments because you are claiming Universal Credit, are pregnant or have a child under four years old, you will receive a letter explaining the changes and asking you to fill in an application form for the Healthy Start scheme. If you have any queries or need further information make sure you call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823 or email on

How to get the application leaflet
• You can get an application leaflet by asking your midwife or health visitor
• Calling the healthy start helpline 0345 607 6823 quoting reference HS01 and request one to be posted out
• Go on line, fill out the form, print off, check and sign.

I have the application form, what next?
• Fill in Part A of the application form carefully in black ink using CAPITAL letters.
• Take the form to your midwife or health visitor and ask them to fill in and sign Part B (you do not need to pay for this).
• Make sure all the information on the form is correct and that you and your health professional have both signed and dated it. IMPORTANT: forms that have not been signed by a health professional cannot be accepted so make sure you do not miss this step out.

Send the form to us at the address below – either write the address on a plain envelope (you don’t need a stamp) or use the freepost envelope at the back of the application leaflet if you have one.

Healthy Start Issuing Unit
PO Box 1067
WA55 1EG

Once your application is received Healthy Start will check with HMRC Tax Credits or the Department for Work and Pensions that you qualify, you should receive your vouchers within two weeks.

What can the vouchers can be spent on?

Cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT. You cannot spend your vouchers on flavoured milk, coloured milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, goat’s milk, soya milk, powdered milk (unless it’s infant formula) or milk with anything added to it such as milkshakes or vitamin-enriched milk.

Fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. These can be whole, chopped, loose or packaged.
You cannot spend your vouchers on any fruit or vegetables which have added ingredients such as fat (oil), salt, sugar or flavourings – including oven chips and battered onion

Infant formula suitable from birth with no added ingredients. Formula is not necessary if mum is exclusively breastfeeding. ( If she is breastfeeding consider spending vouchers on milk, fruit and vegetables to improve her nutrition).
You cannot spend your vouchers on infant formulas that are not based on cow’s milk – such as soya formulas and goat’s milk formulas – or on any follow-on formulas that say on the packaging that they are for babies aged six months or older.

If you have any questions about which formula best meets the nutritional needs of your baby, please contact the formula company directly or speak to a health professional.


Healthy Start vitamins

Women and children getting Healthy Start food vouchers also get vitamin coupons to swap for free Healthy Start vitamins. These vitamins are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children. They contain vitamins A, C and D for children aged six months to four years and folic acid, vitamins C and D for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Children who are having 500ml or more of formula a day do not need  vitamins, once they consume less than 500mls of formula a vitamin supplement should be considered, speak to your health visitor about this. .

Every eight weeks beneficiaries are sent a green vitamin voucher, which they can swap for either Healthy Start women’s vitamin tablets or Healthy Start children’s drops.

Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, in Northern Ireland, you cannot get Healthy Start vitamins through pharmacies. Post the top of Healthy Start letter which shows your address along with the green coupon to the following address and the Healthy Start vitamins will be posted directly to you – remember to send the part of the letter with your address as well as the green coupon:
Business Services Organisation
Healthy Start vitamin scheme
Pinewood Villa
73 Loughgall Road
BT61 7PR

Just so you know ………………..The children’s vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and free from milk, egg, gluten, soya and peanut residues. They have a shelf life of 10 months from manufacture. They come in 10ml bottles, each of which contains just over 56 daily doses. Beneficiaries are entitled to one bottle every eight weeks.

Women’s vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and free from wheat, fish, egg, salt. They contain no colouring, flavours, preservatives or gluten .The shelf life is two years from manufacture. Beneficiaries are entitled to one bottle of 56 tablets every eight weeks.

Have you availed of this service? Was it easy to access? Do you give your children multi vitamins? Can you afford multi vitamins? Start the conversation and share your experiences, good and bad with others.