Apply now for your Best Start Food payment card

Apply now for your Best Start Food payment card

Healthy Start vouchers will stop for families in Scotland at the end of March 2020. They are being replaced by the Best Start Foods payment card.

Eligible expectant parents and parents of children aged three and under are being asked to make sure they apply as soon as possible to make sure they get their card ahead of the Healthy Start vouchers stopping. It can take up two weeks to get a decision on your application and up to six weeks to receive your card.

Who can get a Best Start Food card?

You can apply for Best Start Foods if you live in Scotland, are pregnant or the parent or carer of a child, and you get certain benefits or tax credits (see the list of qualifying benefits at the bottom of the page).

If you are under 18 you may be eligible for Best Start Foods during pregnancy and up until your child turns one without any benefits.

What can you use it for?

The card can be used to be the following healthy foods:

  • Fresh eggs
  • Milk (plain cow’s milk and first infant formula
  • Fruit/vegetables – fresh, frozen or tinned (those with added salt and sugar are excluded)
  • Pulses (e.g. peas, lentils and beans) – dried, fresh, frozen or tinned.

The card can be used in any supermarkets and local shops with a chip and pin machine.

How much will you be paid?

You will get £17.00 every four weeks during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old.

For any child under one, you will get £34 every four weeks.

How do you apply?

The Scottish Government will be taking applications via its freephone helpline on 0800 182 2222, by post or online at

Most people will be able to apply without sending any evidence because the government will check with the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC that you are on a qualifying benefit or tax credit. In some cases you may need to be asked to send more information to process your application.

Best Start Grant

When you apply for Best Start Foods the government will also check if you are eligible for the Best Start Grant. Best Start Grant is a package of three payments that gives you extra money at key stages in the early years of your children’s life. Find out more about Best Start Grant.

Qualifying benefits and tax credits: Income support, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit (CTC) up to a maximum income of £16,190 per annum, Universal Credit (UC) with an income limit of £610 per month, both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and income under £7,320, or the four week run, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit – weekly income of £311 and under.

Call the lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323 if you need advice.

Apply online for the Best Start grant and food payment now 

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