Healthy Start provides a nutritional safety net to pregnant women, new mothers and children under four years old in United Kingdom families claiming income-based benefits, or claiming child tax credit without working tax credit (unless it is working tax credit run-on) with an annual family income of £16,190 or less. Healthy Start vouchers are issued four-weekly by post and the number entitled to receive the vouchers in each complete four week period during 2013-14 is set out in the following table.
|Four weeks beginning on:||Total number of households||Total number of women and children|
|8 April 2013||457,035||557,833|
|6 May 2013||455,271||555,454|
|3 June 2013||453,646||553,208|
|1 July 2013||450,164||548,533|
|29 July 2013||443,939||540,437|
|26 August 2013||441,385||537,195|
|23 September 2013||438,471||533,703|
|21 October 2013||434,397||528,620|
|18 November 2013||432,549||526,151|
|16 December 2013||428,328||520,777|
|13 January 2014||427,362||519,570|
|10 February 2014||425,659||517,463|
|10 March 2014||423,156||514,217|
The gradual reduction in the number entitled to support during 2013-14 reflects a decline in the number of households meeting the qualifying criteria.
Approximately £93 million was paid to retailers during 2013-14 for Healthy Start vouchers they had accepted in exchange for milk, formula milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. Retailers have six months from the use-by date printed on vouchers to claim reimbursement, and typically they claim reimbursement for at least 91% of all Healthy Start vouchers issued.