Combined Shape Created with Sketch. !

People urged to use unspent Best Start Foods balances

Christmas letter will remind families to use money on card

Hundreds of people who get the Scottish Government’s Best Start Foods benefit will receive a pre-Christmas reminder urging them to spend large balances which have built up on their cards.

Letters will be sent by Social Security Scotland to cardholders who have accrued balances of £600 or more.

Best Start Foods is money £19.80 every four weeks by pre-paid card during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old. The payment increases to £39.60 from birth until the age of one.

The card can be used to help with the cost of milk and healthy foods like fruit, vegetables and eggs as well as first infant formula.

People who get the card need to activate it by calling 0808 196 1687 – then it is topped up every four weeks.

However, a small number of people who get it have either never activated the card or stopped using it – meaning balances build up.

It’s this group who are being reminded they have money to spend.

After receiving the first of these letters, more than 100 cards have since been activated and tens of thousands of pounds spent by recipients.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“We want to ensure people get access to every bit of financial support to which they are entitled.

“It’s part of our approach to social security to make sure that we treat people with dignity, fairness and respect and that they’re not obstructed or ignored.

“Our message to people who get Best Start Foods is to look out their cards and check balances. It’s simple to do, either online or at cashpoints.

“The money can be a big help to families dealing with the costs of Christmas and New Year.”


The Scottish Government replaced the UK Healthy Start Voucher scheme in Scotland with Best Start Foods in 2019

To check balance at a cash machine, clients should enter their 4-digit PIN.

Applicants under 18 are eligible for Best Start Foods during pregnancy and up until their child turns one, without the need to be in receipt of benefits

Applicants over 18 or responsible for a child who is older than one need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit. At present, income thresholds also apply for some of these qualifying benefits.

These income thresholds will be removed in 2024.

Best Start Foods is part of a wider package of five family payments including: Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment and Scottish Child Payment.

Sign up to our newsletter

If you are an organisation or individual who works with people who may need information or support on any of our benefits, sign up to our stakeholder newsletter.

We'll never send you content you haven’t asked for and you can opt out at any time.

Please enter a valid email address

Read our privacy policy