Vouchers for baby food

How to apply – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

Applying online

If you get Universal Credit, you can apply online if:

  • you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have at least one child under 4 years old
  • your family’s monthly ‘take-home pay for this period’ is £408 or less from employment

If you get Child Tax Credit, you can apply online if:

  • you have at least one child under 4 years old
  • your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less
  • you do not get Working Tax Credit

To apply, you’ll need your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • baby’s due date (if you’re pregnant)
  • benefit award letter if you’re over 18 (you must enter the same information that’s on this letter)

Applying by email or phone

You can apply by email or phone if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have at least one child under 4 years old, and get either:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the 4 weeks after you, your partner or carer start working less than 16 hours per week) and you do not get Child Tax Credit

You can also apply by email or phone if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant and either:

  • under 18 years old and not getting any benefits
  • getting Child Tax Credit and not getting Working Tax Credit and your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less
  • getting income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply by either:

Phone lines are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Find out about call charges (opens in a new tab).

If you’ve previously got Healthy Start vouchers

We are no longer sending paper vouchers. To get help to buy food and milk you need to apply for a Healthy Start card.

You can still use your Healthy Start vouchers until their expiry date. You can find the expiry date printed on your vouchers.

If you’re not a British citizen but your child is

You might be eligible for Healthy Start depending on your immigration status.

You can get Healthy Start if all the following are true:

  • you have at least 1 British child under 4 years old – check if your child is automatically a British citizen (opens in a new tab) if you’re not sure
  • your family earns £408 or less per month after tax
  • you cannot claim ‘public funds’ (opens in a new tab) (for example, benefits) – either because of your immigration status or because you do not have an immigration status

Your biometric residence permit (BRP) or your online immigration status (opens in a new tab) will say if you cannot claim public funds. You might also have a letter from the Home Office about it.

To apply for Healthy Start, ask for an application form via email. Only use this email address if you think you cannot claim public funds because of your immigration status.

[email protected]

What you’ll get and how to shop – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

How much you’ll get

You’ll get money added onto your Healthy Start card every 4 weeks.

You’ll get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to 1 year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4 years old

Your money will stop when your child is 4 years old, or if you do not get benefits that make you eligible.

You can also get free vitamins with your card.

Shopping with your card

You should only use your card to buy certain types of milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables.

You need to activate your card before you can use it. The first time you use your card you’ll need to use your PIN. After that, you can make contactless payments.

When you use contactless four times in a row, or spend a combined £150, you’ll need to use your PIN on the next transaction. This is to help with the security of your card.

You cannot use your Healthy Start card:

  • online
  • outside of the UK, including the Republic of Ireland
  • on your phone’s wallet app
  • to withdraw cash from an ATM
  • to get cashback

Information: Shopping with vouchers

You can use any paper Healthy Start vouchers you have up until the expiry date shown on them. You may need to ask the retailer if they can accept the vouchers.

Where to shop

You can use your card in most places that sell milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables.

They must display a Mastercard® symbol. The symbol is normally shown on the shop door or at the till. Ask an employee inside the shop if they take Mastercard if you’re unsure.

If you try to spend the money anywhere else the card will be declined. For example at a fast food restaurant.

How to shop

You can only spend up to the balance of your card.

You can split payments between your Healthy Start card and your normal bank card or cash. Some shops will need to do this as separate transactions.

At self-checkout machines you can only split payments between your Healthy Start card and cash, not another bank card.

Do not worry if you make a mistake when using your Healthy Start card to buy healthy food with other shopping. It will not affect your benefit payments.

A shopping example

Sam has £10 left on their Healthy Start card and goes to their local supermarket.

They put £6 of fresh vegetables and £2 of plain cow’s milk in their basket. They also pick up £5 of toiletries and £5 of bread and cereal.

When Sam gets to the tills, they should pay for the:

  • £8 of vegetables and milk with their Healthy Start card
  • £10 of toiletries, bread and cereal with their bank card or cash


If you need to get a refund on something you’ve bought, go back to the shop with your items, receipt and Healthy Start card. The money will be refunded to your Healthy Start card.



(program “BELEKECH”)

1. Question : Who has the right to free of charge of dairy products?

Answer : children of the first three years of life who are artificial or mixed feeding, permanently residing in the Republic of Tatarstan, registered as an outpatient at the place of residence in a healthcare institution of the republic, belonging to preferential categories (Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan dated December 31, 2009 No. 933)

2. Question : Why do other regions give food to all children, but we don't?

Answer: Federal Law No. 323 of November 21, 2011 “On the Fundamentals of Protecting the Health of Citizens in the Russian Federation” regulates the provision of adequate nutrition for children under the age of three upon the conclusion of a doctor, in accordance with the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation (Article 52).

In the Republic of Tatarstan, this is the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan No. 933 dated December 31, 2009 “On the procedure for providing children of the first three years of life free of charge with special dairy products and mixtures according to doctors' prescriptions and financing the expenses for its organization”.

3. Question: Which categories of children are eligible for free dairy products? nine0020

Reply : children are eligible for benefits:

  1. From families with an average per capita income not exceeding the subsistence level established in the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan according to a certificate from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan.
  2. Children with chronic diseases who have a medical condition on the opinion of a doctor:

    - iron deficiency anemia,

    - protein-energy deficiency of moderate and severe form (weight loss). nine0003

3. Children with HIV infection, children born to HIV-infected mothers.

4. Question : On the basis of what documents is food issued?

Reply : The main document for receiving meals is a prescription issued by a pediatrician at the clinic where the child is registered. When receiving products at a milk distribution point, you must present a prescription and a document confirming the identity of the recipient (parent). One of the parents has the right to receive food. Another recipient, along with a prescription and a document, must have a power of attorney from a legal representative (parent) to receive meals. nine0003

5. Question: What are the criteria for determining medical indications?

Answer: The decision to prescribe nutrition is made by the local pediatrician based on the results of clinical studies, clinical recommendations, standards of medical care.

6. Question: In case of disagreement with the opinion of the local doctor, where can the parent apply?

Answer: A parent can apply to the head of the department, to the deputy head physician, to the head physician of the polyclinic. nine0003

7. Question: How often do I get a prescription for free meals?

Answer: Prescriptions for free meals are issued by the district pediatrician once a month in two copies, one of which is given to parents, the other is kept in an outpatient clinic. This rule applies to all recipients of nutrition (medical, social indications).

8.Question: Why is a prescription for free baby food valid for 1 month?


Since the number of children's dairy products (kefir, milk, cottage cheese, liquid adapted milk formula) must correspond to the number of recipients in each age category of each children's clinic, a prescription is issued once a month.

9.Question: How long is free baby food issued for?

Answer: The period of preferential provision of food for a child is determined by the period of the benefit: the period of treatment of the disease or the validity period of a certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan, the age of the child (up to three years). There are no regulated terms for the duration of receiving baby food in the regulatory documents.

The validity period of the certificate is established by the territorial department of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan. nine0003

The term of treatment of the disease is determined by the local doctor in accordance with the current standards of medical care, clinical guidelines.

10. Question: How safe and of high quality are children's milk products of the Zelenodolsk Dairy Plant (ZMK)?

Answer: During the 10 years of the existence of the "Belakech" program, not a single case of adverse effects of ZMK products on the child's health has been registered. Milk for baby food is supplied only by the best enterprises of the Republic of Tatarstan, which have automated milk collection lines. The ZMK baby milk food production line is fully automated. ZMK baby milk products are certified and consist only of a natural product without the addition of preservatives or other additives. At all stages of the collection, transportation and manufacture of products, continuous monitoring is carried out. Each batch of products is delivered to milk distribution points with a certificate of conformity for this batch. Delivery of products from ZMK to milk distribution points is carried out in specialized vehicles equipped with refrigeration equipment. nine0003

11. Question: How many children receive milk nutrition under the program “Belakach”?

Answer: 40,938 children.

12. Question: I live with a child in Kazan, registered in Pestretsy. Can I get baby milk food for a child in Kazan.

Answer: Yes, you can. To do this, you need to get a detachment at the clinic in Pestretsy and register with a children's medical institution at the place of residence in Kazan. nine0003

13. Question: My child has low hemoglobin, but the district pediatrician does not write out a prescription, he says it is not allowed. Why?


The district doctor makes a decision on the need to issue a prescription for free baby food based on clinical and laboratory indicators, guided by the standards of medical care, clinical recommendations of leading pediatricians and pediatric nutritionists. At the same time, the doctor is obliged to explain the reason for the refusal to the parent of the child. nine0003

14. Question: How is a child underweight determined and in what case is it necessary to provide baby food?


15. Question: What range of foods should a child receive under the Belacare program?

Answer: Child under 6 months old. receives a liquid adapted milk formula - 200 ml per day.

Infants born to HIV-infected mothers and infants with HIV up to 6 months of age receive 800 ml of liquid formula milk per day.

Child over 6 months old up to 1 year receives:

- liquid adapted milk formula - 200 ml

- milk - 200 ml

- kefir - 100 ml

- cottage cheese - 30 gr.

A child aged 1 to 3 receives:

- milk - 200 ml

- kefir - 200 ml

- cottage cheese - 40 gr.

16. Question: If the mother was not able to get food on distribution days, what happens to this product?

Answer: Dairy products that the parent does not show up for within three days are considered unclaimed. Within one day, a medical organization redistributes unclaimed good nutrition in favor of newly registered children who are entitled to free provision of good nutrition. nine0003

A child whose parent does not show up for dairy products within three days is entitled to adequate nutrition until the end of the grace period, excluding days during which no food was provided.

17. Question: Who can get baby food in the dairy kitchen except parents?

Answer: This may be a relative (grandmother, grandfather, sister, etc.) who must have a prescription and a power of attorney. nine0003

18. Question: My child gets free baby food, but he doesn't eat the yogurt included in the meal. Can I receive a set without kefir?

Answer: A measure of social support in the form of gratuitous provision of special dairy products and mixtures according to doctors' prescriptions (complete nutrition) is issued in full and is not divided into parts.

19. Question: I brought a certificate from social security to the local pediatrician on February 21. The doctor said that they would only put my baby on the baby food list from mid-March. Is it legal? And why can't I receive groceries from March 1st?

Answer: Medical institutions update the lists of children for receiving baby milk food every five days. Therefore, your child must be included in the application for infant milk formula from March 1st. nine0003

20. Question: My child and I live in Tatarstan, but we are registered in Saransk. Can my sick child receive free infant formula?

Answer: Financing of expenses for free provision of baby food is carried out at the expense of the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan, therefore, children are provided, permanently residing in the Republic of Tatarstan, registered as outpatients at the place of residence in medical organizations of the republic. nine0003

21. Question: Is a child with a disability under the age of three entitled to free children's meals?

Answer: The presence of a disability is not included in the list of categories that have the right to provide free food for children.

22. Question: Why can baby milk be stored for 3 months if it is an organic product and there are no additives?

Answer: The manufacturer of children's dairy products, ZMK JSC, uses a progressive method of heat treatment - milk ultra-pasteurization. At the same time, vitamins and microelements are preserved in milk. Pathogenic microorganisms and spores are killed, which lead to rapid deterioration of the product.

The product is bottled in a multi-layer hermetic package, which ensures the storage of the product during the expiration date. The entire production and bottling process takes place under sterile conditions and in a closed system. nine0003

23. Question: Who controls the supply of free baby milk products?

Answer: Delivery of free baby food (quantity, quality of packages, return and replacement of baby food) is monitored all days of the week by specialists from the Dairy Nutrition Department of the Dispatch Center of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Phone for consultations: (843) 221-16-95, 221-16-90.

who is entitled to and how to get it, rules of registration, required documents, norms of issuance and contents of the set, working hours

  • Food pick-up appointment
    • Dairy kitchen prescription expiration date
    • Dairy kitchen opening hours
  • Last modified
  • How to get a dairy kitchen for a child? Every family with a newborn baby has the right to state assistance. In particular, for free food and drink for the child.


    Dairy cuisine is one of the regional measures of social support for the population. Its activities are regulated by Federal Law No. 323 "On the fundamentals of protecting the health of citizens" dated 11/21/11.

    Download for viewing and printing:

    Federal Law of November 21, 2011 No. 323

    In Moscow, the activities of institutions for the issuance of free meals are regulated by Government Order No. 292 of 04/06/14.

    Download for viewing and printing:

    Order of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 292

    Who is entitled to a dairy kitchen

    The concept of dairy cuisine as such is not enshrined in modern legislation at the state level. Special catering facilities are stipulated by the Federal Law "On the Fundamentals of Protecting the Health of Citizens in the Russian Federation". Paragraph 3 of Article 52 stipulates that the provision of adequate nutrition for pregnant women, nursing mothers, as well as children under the age of three years is carried out at the conclusion of doctors in accordance with the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. nine0003

    From this we can distinguish categories of citizens who can apply to an institution for free food:

    • babies under three years old;
    • pregnant;
    • breastfeeding mothers.

    Naturally, it is not the children themselves who should come to the institution for their food. This is done by their legal representatives. For example, parents or guardians.

    Taking into account the regional programs adopted on the basis of the above law, the following categories of citizens can also be distinguished who can apply for a prescription for free meals:

    • disabled (under 15 years of age)
    • children under the age of 7 from large families.

    It should be noted that the regional authorities independently regulate the issue of providing citizens with preferential meals, including dairy cuisine, therefore, the list of citizens who can count on benefits will differ, as well as the food set they are provided with.


    The basis for receiving the right to free meals is a prescription issued either by a gynecologist who sees a pregnant woman, or a pediatrician who sees a beneficiary's child. nine0003

    The polyclinic, in turn, enters into an agreement with an organization supplying and producing food.

    Issue norms

    Pediatricians, gynecologists and other doctors decide what kind of food children and women will receive free of charge as part of state assistance. The diet that they select should contribute to a healthy diet, the full development of the child's body.

    According to the all-Russian trends, in 2022 the list of products served in the so-called dairy kitchen includes:

    • vegetable and meat puree ;
    • pasteurized cow's milk ;
    • kefir adapted for children's organism .

    The list is supplemented by nutritional and therapeutic mixtures, liquid or dry, purees made from fruits, milk curds, juices made from fruits.

    It is impossible to get any of this food list without having an official prescription from a doctor.

    How much free food a baby gets depends on their age. The composition of the grocery basket also depends on age. nine0003

    • For example, in Moscow, a child who is six months old has the right once every 30 days to receive dry formula - 350 g and juice made from fruits - a little more than 1 liter. He is also entitled to fruit puree - two kilograms. Be sure to give out porridge once a week, in dry or liquid form, but not more than 400 g at a time.
    • A baby who is only 5 months old can receive the following assistance from the state once a month completely free of charge. Firstly, dry porridge - 400 g. Secondly, mashed potatoes made from vegetables, about 1 kg. Mandatory fruit juice and the same puree, 1 liter and 1 kg, respectively. nine0054
    • Babies 3 to 4 months old can count on a liter of fruit juice per month, dry formula, about 1 kg.
    • Quite babies, from birth to 2 months of life, receive food once every 7 days: about 5 liters of the mixture, preferably in liquid form.

    This procedure for the distribution of food is established by the Order of the Department of Health of the city of Moscow.

    Attention! This set may vary depending on the region and the decision of pediatricians.

    In the Perm Territory, children from 6 months old are given 350 grams of formula milk, more than a liter of fruit juice, a little more than a kilogram of fruit puree, 400 grams of dry porridge. The norms for issuing products increase with the age of the child. nine0003

    In St. Petersburg, the authorities took a different path, providing citizens with social cards that they can use to pay for food and clothing in specialized stores.

    What documents do you need to collect

    In order to use the services of a dairy kitchen, you need to collect a package of documents that differs in each region. For example, in Moscow, you will need to collect the following package of documents:

    • baby's birth certificate; nine0054
    • insurance policy;
    • document on registration of the child;
    • document from the place of work of parents;
    • if the family has many children, a document confirming this;
    • a document stating the health of the child;
    • if the child is disabled - withdrawal of the commission.

    In order for pregnant women and nursing mothers to receive food free of charge, they will need to write a corresponding application addressed to the head physician. Pregnant women can get a sample application from their antenatal clinic. Or watch it here. nine0003 Attention! The absence of a permanent residence permit is not a reason for refusing to issue products. Temporary registration is also suitable.

    Appointment for receipt of products

    The order and place of distribution of products is also determined by regional legislation. Usually, pregnant women can get a referral for free distribution of products in their antenatal clinic.

    Nursing mothers make an appointment to receive food from a pediatrician who monitors the full development of the child. Registration does not take place on the mother, but on the child. But, of course, parents will receive food. nine0003

    Older children can get dairy products after registering with a pediatrician.

    Attention! You can find out exactly what the norms of the products given out by the dairy kitchen are from the pediatrician or from the attending physician (for example, a gynecologist at the antenatal clinic).

    Period of validity of a prescription for dairy cuisine

    It is generally accepted that a prescription is issued for a period of 1 month. In rare cases, this period is extended by 3 months. For example, if the child is not yet three years old, if the recipient of the food is a pregnant woman or a nursing mother. nine0003

    Six months prescription is available for children with disabilities and children from large families.

    For how long the prescription will be issued, the doctor decides, based on the examination and conclusion about the health of the child and the pregnant/nursing woman.

    Important! In order to constantly receive products in the dairy kitchen, you need to remember to renew the recipe in time. You need to apply for a new prescription when the expiration date of the current prescription began to approach.

    Learn more