Best Start Foods is a new Scottish benefit to help people on low incomes who are pregnant or who have young children. It can only be used to buy certain types of food, such as milk, formula milk, fruit and vegetables.
Best Start Foods is paid as credit on a pre-loaded payment card. There are two rates of payment, either £4.25 a week or £8.50 a week. If you’re pregnant, you’ll get £4.25 a week. If your child is aged under one, you’ll get £8.50 a week. If your child is aged over one but under three, you’ll get £4.25 a week.
You usually need to be getting one of a list benefits to be eligible for Best Start Foods. These include Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit. You can also be getting Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, although your income will need to be lower than certain amounts for each of these benefits.
If you are under 18 and pregnant then you don’t need to be getting any of these benefits. Also if you are under 18 and responsible for a child under one, you don’t need to be getting any benefits to show that you are on a low income.
Social Security Scotland is now accepting applications for Best Start Foods. You use the same application form to apply for Best Start Foods and the Best Start Grant payments. So for example, if you are pregnant and you meet the eligibility criteria, you only need to apply once for Best Start Foods and for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment.
Best Start Foods has replaced Healthy Start vouchers for people in Scotland. If you live in Scotland and you were getting Healthy Start vouchers before 12 August 2019, you'll be invited to apply for Best Start Foods.