Changes to the Healthy Start Voucher Scheme

The Healthy Start Voucher Scheme will be going digital in the year to come. Here's a summary of the changes.

Healthy Start Scheme Update- May 2020    

The Healthy Start scheme provides pregnant women and one to four year-old children who qualify for the means-tested benefit with £3.10 per week, delivered as a paper voucher every four weeks. Children under one year old get £6.20 a week. Women and children getting the food vouchers also get coupons for vitamins designed for pregnant and breast-feeding women and growing children.   Just a reminder and for those that may not have heard, from 6 April 2020 families can now apply for Healthy Start food vouchers without a health professional’s signature on the form, as was previously required.  This is in Part B of the paper application. The Government have changed this regulation in preparation for the future digitalisation of the voucher scheme.  

Key updates for the future of the Healthy Start Scheme.  

  • The Healthy Start Voucher Scheme will be changed from the current paper application to an online application  later in the year (Exact date/ yet to be confirmed but Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Business Services Authority managing the programme are estimating this to be October 2020)
  • Paper applications will gradually be phased out and online application being tested and piloted with a handful of applicants before being rolled out.
  • There will be an ‘Assisted Digital Route’ available for those unable to get online with a dedicated helpline number.
  • Payment method will change. Paper vouchers will be phased out and replaced with a pre-paid card. This will be automatically topped up every 4 weeks and can be used at any food retailer that has Chip and Pin facilities.
  • More foods can be redeemed using the vouchers from 1st October 2020. These will be: Canned fruit& vegetables- in own juice or water and beans and lentils- fresh, dried or canned without added fat, sugar, salt or flavourings. This is in addition to the list of foods that can be redeemed currently- Fresh and frozen plain fruit and vegetables, plain cow’s milk and infant formula based on cow’s milk.  

 

I will keep you all updated as soon as we hear any further updates, particularly regards timescales for the above changes.  

If you have any comments about the proposed changes, or would like further information about Healthy Start or the work we are doing to promote this in the city, please contact 

Esther Bissell, Healthy Start Development Worker               

Email- esther.bissell@zestleeds.co.uk

 

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