Best Start Foods is a new payment that will replace UK Government's Healthy Start Vouchers in Scotland. The new payment will replace the paper vouchers with a new payment card, giving you more flexibility in how you use it.

What can I buy with the card?

You can use the card to buy any of the healthy foods listed below:

  • 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 (eg peas, lentils and beans) – dried, fresh, frozen or tinned

How much will I get?

You will get £17.00 every four weeks during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old, this payment increases to £34.00 for any child under one.

What is the card?

The Best Start Foods card is a Mastercard. It can be used in a similar way to normal bank cards using contactless or Chip & PIN.

Where can I use it?

You can use your Best Start Foods card in supermarkets and local shops. As long as the shop sells the healthy foods listed on your card, and takes bank card payments, you can use your Best Start Foods card there.

Who can get it?

  • You can apply for Best Start Foods if you live in Scotland
  • You are in receipt of one of the following benefits / tax credits and are pregnant or the parent or carer of a child:
    • 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 Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit - your income from working must be less than £7,320 per year
    • Pension Credit
    • Housing Benefit – weekly income of £311 and under
  • 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

How many children qualify for a payment in each family?

There is no limit on the number of children you can claim Best Start Foods for. You will get a payment for any child you have responsibility for that is under 3.

How to apply

By telephone:

Social Security Scotland

or you can download a paper copy to post back. Postal details are on the form.

If English is not your first language, you can:

  • apply over the phone in any of over 100 languages
  • ask for a paper form to be sent to you in any of over 100 languages

Do I need my partner's information?

Yes - if you live in the same household and are:

  • married to each other
  • civil partners of each other
  • living together as if you are married.

Does it affect other benefits?

No - Best Start Foods is not counted for in any other benefit or tax credit assessments.