If you receive the 'NHS Healthy Start' vouchers you will need to apply for a new prepaid card to receive your payments from 10 March, as the scheme will stop sending out paper vouchers.   

The scheme has meant eligible low-income households and expectant mothers can get £4.25 a week, or £8.50 a week for a family with a child under 12 months old, for items such as fruit, vegetables, milk and tinned pulses. Paper vouchers will stop being issued between 24 February and 10 March - although you can continue to use them until the expiry date. 

Papers vouchers will be replaced with a new prepaid card 

If you have received paper vouchers, you’ll now need to register for a new prepaid card that will be automatically updated with the £4.25 (or £8.50) each week. The NHS Business Services Authority, which manages the scheme, says this application process is quicker and easier than before. 

Prepaid card payments will only be backdated to the date you apply, so you need to act fast, or you may lose out on payments in between your vouchers ending and your prepaid card arriving. 

Apply for the new card today! 

To apply for your prepaid card, visit the NHS Healthy Start website and follow the instructions. This is how it works:  

  • Cards need to be activated before use. How to do so will be explained in a letter you get with your card.  
  • Money stays on the card for 16 weeks. Any cash unused after 16 weeks is returned to Healthy Start. 
  • The new card can be used in most shops that accept Mastercard. This includes supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and newsagents. You can only use the card in-store though - not online.  
  • The card is contactless and there's no minimum spend. Though you will need to enter your PIN the first time you use it and on certain transactions after this. The card can also be used as proof of entitlement when collecting free Healthy Start vitamins. Find your nearest vitamin provider.   
  • You can check your card balance for free at an ATM. Though you can't use it to withdraw cash. To check your balance call Healthy Start's phone number on 0300 330 2090. Calls are charged at local rates, so check how much your mobile or landline provider charges for these (many get them free with call plans).