Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the Healthy Start scheme. If you cannot find the answer to your question on this site then please phone 0844 991 2222.

  1. Do I have to take part?
  2. Do I have to stock all Healthy Start products?
  3. Will I need to give advice about infant formula milk?
  4. What should I do if I have more than one retail outlet?
  5. What happens if I close or sell my business?
  6. What if I use an agent or a wholesaler for my coupon clearing?
  7. If I was registered for the Welfare Food Scheme am I automatically registered for the Healthy Start scheme?
  8. Will I get a handling allowance as I do for other coupons?
  9. I have received more than one application form from you. Do I need to complete them both?
  10. If I do use a handling agent for the vouchers will payments be made into their bank account or my own?
  11. How will I know if a payment has been made into my bank account?
  12. How many vouchers can I accept at one time from a customer?
  13. My remittance advice states that you have not paid me for vouchers that were torn, defaced or fake. Why have I not been paid for them?
  14. How long does it take for you to process my claim?
  15. Is there a time limit for submitting vouchers for payment?
  16. I don't have a claim form. Can you send me some? And how long will it take to receive please?
  17. Can I give change to customers if they don't spend the entire voucher?
  18. Can a customer have a whole tin of baby formula using one voucher, even though it costs more than the voucher value? (As they did with the old milk tokens)
  19. I only get the odd voucher from my customers, should I continue with this scheme?
  20. I think the vouchers that a customer is bringing in may be forged or copied. What should I do?
  21. My staff have accidentally accepted Healthy Start vouchers and I'm not registered. Can I claim my money back?
  22. Can I have my vouchers paid by cheque?
  23. What happens if my claim gets lost in the post on the way to the Healthy Start Reimbursement Unit?

Do I have to take part?

No, this is a voluntary scheme. But the more retailers who register, the more choice Healthy Start families have about where to spend their vouchers. It may also help your existing customers, or bring you new ones.

Do I have to stock all Healthy Start products?

No. As long as you stock at least one of the foods covered under the Healthy Start scheme you can accept vouchers for it. The decision to extend your product range is entirely up to you, though if you do decide to offer more of the Healthy Start foods this may attract new custom from participating pregnant women and families.

Will I need to give advice about infant formula milk?

You can give advice if you are a pharmacist. Otherwise, you should advise the customer to speak to a pharmacist or health professional if they ask anything more than what brands they can buy with their vouchers. It is illegal to promote infant formula to the public.

What should I do if I have more than one retail outlet?

You can either register each outlet as a separate entity (each with a separate account number) or register one address and redeem all vouchers through a single account. If you require additional application forms, please call 0844 991 2222.

What happens if I close or sell my business?

You must inform HSRU immediately and return all Healthy Start documentation when you send your final claim form. Do not give your account number to the new owner as they will have to register for the scheme themselves.

What if I use an agent or a wholesaler for my coupon clearing?

Complete sections 1, 2 and 12 to 18 of the application form, then sign and pass it to your coupon clearing agent. They then need to complete sections 3 to 11.

If I was registered for the Welfare Food Scheme am I automatically registered for the Healthy Start scheme?

No, they are two completely separate schemes and you must register for both independently.

Will I get a handling allowance as I do for other coupons?

A handling allowance will not be paid for the vouchers. Providing you have followed the rules of the scheme when accepting a voucher, we will pay you the value shown on it.

I have received more than one application form from you. Do I need to complete them both?

Complete one with the correct information, seal and return. Write duplicate in large letters across the other and also seal and return so that we can update our records

If I do use a handling agent for the vouchers will payments be made into their bank account or my own?

You can choose to receive payments into whichever account you want. Make sure that you put the correct account details on the form. If it is your own bank account put your name, address and bank details on the form. If payment is to be made to the handling agent put their name, address and bank account details.

How will I know if a payment has been made into my bank account?

You will receive an e-remittance advice that will provide you with the details of the number and value of the vouchers scanned for payment. Alternatively you can check the progress of your claims on the secure part of this web site

How many vouchers can I accept at one time from a customer?

Provided the vouchers are genuine and they are within the use by date you can accept however many the customer wants to use. Customers who are pregnant and also have children will have more vouchers to spend, and they may want to use them in one shopping trip for convenience.

My e-remittance advice states that you have not paid me for vouchers that were torn, defaced or fake. Why have I not been paid for them?

Under the terms and conditions of the scheme we do not pay for vouchers that are not valid, or which have been torn or defaced so that we cannot verify that they are valid. You must check vouchers carefully before accepting them – do not accept any vouchers that do not have a watermark running through them matching the picture on the front, or which are damaged so that the barcodes cannot be read. You must also ensure that you do not mark or deface the vouchers before sending them to us.

How long does it take for you to process my claim?

If you have provided correct and current bank account details you should receive payment within 14 days of posting your claim. If you do not please contact us for advice.

Is there a time limit for submitting vouchers for payment?

Yes. You must claim within 6 months of a voucher's use by date. We cannot pay for any vouchers that are submitted after this date. We suggest you check vouchers you accept to make sure they are within their use-by date, and claim payments regularly.

I don't have a claim form. Can you send me some? And how long will it take to receive please?

Claim forms are no longer provided, to send a claim please logon to the HSRU website and select Claim Generation on the Manage and Make Claims tab.

Can I give change to customers if they don't spend the entire voucher?

No. The voucher must be used for Healthy Start foods to the value of the voucher, or put towards payment of Healthy Start foods of a higher value. You must give the full value of vouchers you take in payment for Healthy Start foods. If you have a close relationship with a customer, you could agree to 'hold over' the unspent portion of a voucher until a later shop. If you do this you must ensure that this held over amount is used for Healthy Start foods only. For example, if you sell fresh and vegetables, why not suggest that the customer takes an apple or two to make up the full value of a voucher. Some shops with regular Healthy Start customers find it convenient to make up boxes of mixed fruit and veg worth exactly £3.10

Can a customer have a whole tin of baby formula using one voucher, even though it costs more than the voucher value? (As they did with the old milk tokens)

If the formula is more than the voucher value the customer must pay the difference otherwise you will be taking a loss. There is no way for you to get payment back for the difference.

I only get the odd voucher from my customers, should I continue with this scheme?

It doesn't cost you anything to keep up your registration, and we are happy to pay for small numbers of vouchers at a time ? but remember to submit them within 6 months of their use-by date. New customers are coming onto the scheme all the time and may want to spend their vouchers with you.

I think the vouchers that a customer is bringing in may be forged or copied. What should I do?

You should not accept any vouchers that you suspect may be copied or forged – look for the watermark. It is your responsibility to make sure you check vouchers carefully - we will not pay for forged or copied vouchers that you or your staff have accepted in error. If you suspect any fraudulent activity against the Healthy Start scheme you can telephone the NHS CFSMS fraud reporting hotline for England and Wales on: 0800 028 40 60 for Northern Ireland on: 0800 096 33 96 or if in Scotland please ring your local police force.

My staff have accidentally accepted Healthy Start vouchers and I'm not registered. Can I claim my money back?

If you are not registered you are not allowed to accept vouchers or claim payment for them. This is stated on the back of the vouchers themselves. To register please complete an application form online or ring us for advice and we can send you a form in the post.

Can I have my vouchers paid by cheque?

No. All payments are made directly into your bank account by BACS transfer, which is in the Terms and Conditions of the scheme. This is a quicker, safer and more secure method of payment.

What happens if my claim gets lost in the post on the way to the Healthy Start Reimbursement Unit?

Telephone us on 0844 991 2222 for advice if you do not receive payment for any claim. It is your responsibility to make sure that you send your online claim form and vouchers to us together, and in suitable packaging. Affix the Freepost address label to the front, and add your return address to the back. You must also obtain a certificate of posting, and record the weight of the package on it. Keep this carefully with the top half of the printed claim form until you have received your payment.

If you have problems with your local mail services, and you want to use an alternative postal service to send claims to us, please contact us on 0844 991 2222 for advice.

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