Free Vegetables For Healthy Start Voucher Recipients

Families who currently receive Healthy Start vouchers could be getting a freebie from Iceland from September 11.

Healthy Start is a government scheme to improve the health of low-income pregnant women and families on benefits and tax credits.

Iceland is giving families who receive Government-issued Healthy Start vouchers a bag of free frozen veg.

It means that the supermarket will effectively be bumping up the value of the vouchers from £3.10 to £4.10, freeing up a pound to be spent on other eligible items like milk, infant formula and other fresh or frozen fruit and veg.

The initiative could help thousands of families who are signed up to the scheme, and starts in store from September 11.

Women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant and families with children under four years old qualify for Healthy Start if the family is getting:

  • Income Support, or

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or

  • Child Tax Credit (with a family income of £16,190 or less per year)

  • Universal Credit (with a family take home pay of £408 or less per month) 

Women also qualify during the whole of their pregnancy if they are under 18 when they apply, even if they don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits. To continue getting support from the scheme for their babies, they must meet the same qualifying criteria as other Healthy Start families. It is therefore important that pregnant women under 18 years old tick any qualifying benefits or tax credits they or their family are getting when they first apply, or contact the Healthy Start Issuing Unit to let them know if they start claiming any later in their pregnancy. They must also claim Child Tax Credit as soon as they can after their baby is born.

What do Healthy Start beneficiaries get?

  • Pregnant women get one Healthy Start voucher a week worth £3.10

  • Babies under the age of one get two vouchers a week worth a total of £6.20

  • Children aged over one and under four get one voucher a week worth £3.10. The vouchers can be spent on cow’s milk, plain fresh and frozen vegetables, and infant formula milk, and it’s also possible to claim free vitamins.

Vouchers are posted out every four weeks. They can be spent on milk, plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (fruit and vegetables with nothing added), or infant formula milk in a wide variety of local shops and supermarkets and with milkmen that have registered to take part in the scheme.

As well as Iceland, Healthy Start vouchers can only be used in one of the 21,000 retailers that are registered with the Healthy Start scheme, they can’t be used online.

You can check here which shops in your area are registered.