Sainsbury’s to give eligible shoppers £52 to spend on food to top-up NHS Healthy Start scheme - how to claim

Sainsbury’s customers who are part of the NHS Healthy Start scheme will get an extra £2 top-up coupon each week for six months

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Sainsbury’s shoppers who are part of the NHS Healthy Start scheme will get an extra £2 top-up coupon each week for a limited time to help with the rising cost of living.

The supermarket will be providing a coupon to eligible customers using a Healthy Start card in England every week over the next six months, starting from Wednesday 12 October until Tuesday 11 April 2023. The extra money can be used to put toward the cost of fresh, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables.

The supermarket first introduced the £2 top-up coupon in 2021 to help families during February half-term. The coupon was then reintroduced throughout the winter to provide extra help to those who were struggling over the Christmas period.

Who is eligible for the Healthy Start scheme?

To get the £2 top-up, you have to be registered with the Healthy Start food voucher scheme, which is run through the NHS in England. You currently get £4.25 each week loaded onto a Healthy Start card and if you have a child under the age of one, you could get two coupons each week.

Sainsbury’s will be providing an extra £2 coupon every week over the next six months to those who are part of the scheme, which amounts to £52 worth of coupons in total.

You might be entitled to use the Healthy Start scheme if you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four. You need to be claiming certain benefits to qualify. This includes:

  • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (but only if you are over 10 weeks pregnant)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (this is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the four weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week)

If you are under 18 and more than 10 weeks pregnant, you will get Healthy Start vouchers until your baby is born regardless of whether you claim benefits or not. Families in Scotland are not eligible for Healthy Start and must apply for help through Best Start Foods instead.

Which food items can be bought with the coupons?

Parents used to be sent paper coupons but anyone who applies now will be sent a physical card instead. Only certain products can be bought with the Healthy Start vouchers. These include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Infant formula milk
  • Fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • Free vitamins

You also need to check where they can be spent as not all stores accept the Healthy Start coupons. Some of the most well-known retailers that accept them include Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. You can find your nearest shops that accept them using the Healthy Start tool on its website.

Ruth Cranston, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Sainsbury’s said: “We know that times are tough for millions of families across the country, and that the rising cost of living is causing uncertainty for many of our customers, so today we’ve announced that we’ll be topping up the Government funded NHS Healthy Start scheme by £2 for the third time.

“As part of our brand promise Helping Everyone Eat Better, we believe that everyone deserves to eat well, and the cost of healthy food shouldn’t be a barrier to this. We hope this additional support will ensure that good, quality food is accessible for everyone.”