What is it?
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for you and your baby.
It replaced the Healthy Start voucher scheme in Scotland from 12 August 2019.
You can receive the card from the start of your pregnancy right through to the child’s third birthday, as long as you continue to qualify.
Am I eligible?
You qualify if you are pregnant, or are responsible for a child under three and you or your partner get:
- Universal Credit and have earned no more than £660 a month in either of the last two complete monthly assessment periods
- Child Tax Credit with annual income of £17,005 or less
- both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an annual income of £7,920 or less
- Housing benefit with a weekly income of £328 or less
- Income Support
- income based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Pension Credit
You must live in Scotland to qualify.
If you are under 18 years old
You qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, regardless of whether or not you get any of these benefits. You will continue to qualify until the end of your pregnancy if you turn 18 during the pregnancy or until your child's first birthday if you turn 18 after the baby is born.
You can also qualify if you are aged 18/19 and are still a dependant in someone else's benefit claim. You are a dependant if the person who cares for you gets any of the following for you:
- child benefit
- child tax credit
- universal credit
- pension credit amounts for children
What you'll get?
The payments of Best Start Foods are:
- £18 every four weeks during pregnancy
- £36 every four weeks from your child being born up until they turn one
- £18 every four weeks between the ages of one and three years old
The card can be used in-store or online to buy any of the following:
- plain cow's milk
- first infant formula
- fresh, frozen or tinned fruit or vegetables
- fresh or dried pulses like lentils, beans, peas and barley
- fresh eggs
How do I apply?
You can make the claim online by visiting the Scottish Government website.
Alternatively, you can phone Social Security Scotland for free on 0800 182 2222 to apply over the phone.
If you are entitled to Best Start foods, you can also receive free Health Start vitamins which are distributed by regional health boards in Scotland. You can ask your health visitor, midwife or GP about this.
Can I challenge the decision?
If you are unhappy with a decision made by the SSSA about Best Start Foods you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. You need to do this by calling 0800 182 2222.
For Best Start Food there is no right of appeal if you still don't agree with what SSSA decide.