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Best Start Foods

Removal of income threshold

From February 2024 the income threshold was removed so that you can now qualify for the  Best Start Foods payment if:

  • you get Universal Credit, tax credits or any other qualifying income based benefit (regardless of your income), and
  • you are pregnant or you have a child under three years old

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 
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
  • Housing benefit
  • 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:

  • £21.20 every four weeks during pregnancy
  • £42.40 every four weeks from your child's birth up until they turn one
  • £21.20 every four weeks between the ages of one and three years old

The card can be used in-store 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 Social Security Scotland about Best Start Foods you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. You can 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 Social Security Scotland decide.

Page last updated:
08 May 2024

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