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From 12 August 2019, a Best Start foods pre-paid payment card replaced the Healthy Start voucher scheme in Scotland. Eligibility can begin from the start of pregnancy and continue until the child’s 3rd birthday. If you were entitled to Healthy Start vouchers for a child aged 2 or 3 within the last 12 weeks and you claim Best Start foods before 31 March 2020, you can continue to qualify until the child’s 4th birthday.
You qualify if you are pregnant, or responsible for a child under 3 and you or your partner get:
- UC and earn no more than £610 a month in either of the last two complete monthly assessment periods
- CTC (not WTC) with annual income of £16,190 or less
- CTC and WTC with an annual income of £7,320 or less
- housing benefit with weekly income of £311 or less
- income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or pension credit.
You qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, regardless of benefits. You must meet residence conditions as for the Best Start Grant. You continue to qualify until the end of your pregnancy if you turn 18 during pregnancy, or until your child's first birthday if you turn 18 while responsible for the baby. You can also qualify if you are aged 18/19 and a dependant in someone else's benefit claim. You are a dependant if the person who cares for you gets:
- child benefit
- child tax credit
- universal credit
- pension credit
You must still be included in their claim, for example as you are under 19 and still at school.
The Best Start foods payment card is credited with £4.25 a week, or £8.50 for a child under 1. The card can be used to pay for milk, fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, pulses and eggs.
To claim you can:
- phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222
- claim online at mygov.scot
- download a paper claim form from mygov.scot.
If you qualify for Best Start foods, you will also be eligible for a Best Start grant.
Even if you don't qualify for Best Start foods, you may still be able to get a Best Start grant.
Note that Healthy Start vouchers are being phased out if you are currently receiving them in Scotland, and you will be invited to apply for Best Start foods between August and December 2019.
Healthy Start vitamins
If you are entitled to Best Start foods, you can also receive free Healthy Start vitamins which are distributed by regional health boards in Scotland - ask your health visitor, midwife or GP.