Applying online-11

NHS Healthy Start paper voucher holders – apply for your new prepaid card now

A change to the NHS Healthy Start scheme means everyone who currently receives paper vouchers will need to reapply online for their prepaid card before as soon as possible to continue to get their benefit.

Prepaid cards will soon completely replace the paper vouchers given to pregnant women and low-income households with children to help them buy healthy food and milk.

The change was introduced to increase uptake of the scheme, simplify the process and make it more accessible.

The new card is discreet and can be used in most places that accept Mastercard and sell eligible healthy start food items such as fruit, vegetables and tinned pulses. That includes supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and newsagents. The card can also be used to collect free NHS Healthy Start vitamins.

It allows people to check their balance to help with money management, and any money that is not spent will remain on the card and can be put toward healthy food in the future.  

Payment is added to the card automatically, so there’s no need to wait for vouchers in the post. Cards are topped up with £4.25 a week, or double if it’s for a family with a child under 12 months old.

Almost 250,000 people have applied to the new NHS Healthy Start scheme since it launched last year. This includes over 70,000 new households who hadn’t applied for the paper voucher scheme but were eligible to do so – resulting in an additional £1 million a month going to families most in need.

Brendan Brown, Chief Operating Officer at the NHS Business Services Authority which delivers the scheme on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The application process is quicker and easier than before. All you need to do is go to the NHS Healthy Start website and have your benefit award letter to hand when you apply. Make sure you use the exact details shown on your letter to help you with the application.

“With over 150,000 paper voucher holders already making the switch to the card, we don’t want anyone to miss out on receiving their NHS Healthy Start payment.

“You must apply for the card by 10 March as paper vouchers will no longer be issued. You’ll still be able to sign up after that date, but your payments could be delayed, so please apply soon.”

Contact Information

Katy Edgar

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority

Notes to editors