Thousands of parents say they are no longer eligible for vital food stamps during the shake-up


More than 300,000 families could lose access to critical devices Offers for a healthy start because of major errors in the conversion from paper coupons to Mastercard cards, Mirror can disclose.

As the cost of living crisis deepens, the Department of Health has extended its £4.25-a-week food stamp scheme for another year to support parents at risk of falling into poverty.

In doing so, it transitions from a paper voucher plan to a digital bank card – meaning parents will automatically receive their payments and any money left over at the end of each week can be accrued to use in the future.

Theoretically, new system It sounds a lot simpler, however, The Mirror has received feedback from dozens of parents whose applications were denied due to errors in the new claim process.

Healthy start Facebook This page alone is inundated with complaints from parents saying their card was declined in the supermarket, their application was declined and they were unable to contact anyone via the 55p call center one minute of the Ministry.

Time limit to switch from paper voucher to new card system was yesterday (March 10).

Parents said they were denied support under the new application process



Georgia King, 24 years old



Georgia King, 24, received a Healthy Start voucher to help cover necessities for her two-year-old son.

She stopped accepting paper vouchers last October and was eventually issued with a new card, which the Health Department said was registered and activated and ready to use.

“But it doesn’t work in the supermarket,” she told The Mirror.

Ms. King, who has dyslexia and dyslexia, has since struggled to get through the Department over the phone.

Her mother, Toria Hodgkiss, emailed the government on her behalf, but months later, her card still wasn’t working.

“Georgia and my nephew live with me now. I am a single parent with an 11 year old daughter who lost her father last year. I’m doing my best to support Georgia. She works 15 hours a week as a hairdresser and gets General Creditbut the cost is high and we are trying our best to stay ahead.

“The plan is not fit for purpose, you cannot get any help, Just generic automated responses that only end up adding to the frustration of a plan not working.”

The twins’ mother, Kerry Baker, spent weeks trying to apply the new system. She is now behind the deadline but she is very hopeful the matter will still be resolved.

The 35-year-old single mother gave up her job as a plumber due to taking care of her children when her children were born. She currently receives two vouchers worth £4.25 a week.

Ms. Baker has been trying to move her paper documents to the new card system for weeks, but has been unable to get through the department’s customer services.

“Problems vary from not being able to convert your voucher to having to make a whole new application. That’s fine, but people were dropped because they got paper vouchers,” she told The Mirror.

“There is no option to close your current request and then reopen it with a new tag scheme.”

“There was no answer via phone lines that are supposed to be open 24/7.

“It will be much harder next month when the price goes upMy rent has increased by £300.

“As a single mother of twins, I couldn’t breastfeed, there was so much work to do. Without these vouchers, I would not be able to purchase special formula. “

At home mom, Sarah Cushing, 24, receives £8.50 a week for her two children under the paper system. She claims General Credit.

Sarah Cushing, 24 years old and two children

“I had a letter back in December that mentioned it was going to a paper card and I would have to re-register for the change,” she said.

“As soon as I received that letter, I followed the instructions and applied again – but was later told my application had been unsuccessful.

“I tried three more times and got the same results. I phoned the ministry and was told that I still had rights so I had no problem. They asked me to send proof of the benefits and income I received, and said they would update their system and sort it out.

“But it didn’t work. When I contacted them again, I received no response.

“I’m lucky that the paper vouchers are still running through this month so I’ve managed to do it, but it just added to my anxiety and made me think about what I’m going to do.”

New analysis from the charity Sustain shows that 338,656 families who are pregnant or have young children and are eligible for Healthy Start vouchers for fruit, vegetables and dairy have not yet signed up for the digital card they will need when they arrive. Paper vouchers stopped working on March 31.

The last day to apply for a digital card is March 10.

Ours Cost of living The team of professionals is here to help YOU get through a very difficult year.

They will bring you the latest money news stories and also provide expert advice.

Whether it’s rising energy bills, weekly shopping costs or rising taxes, our team is there for you.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. they’ll join a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit to watch. You can read more about team of experts here.

If you have questions – or want to share your story – please get in touch by sending an email

Several public health groups have since stopped promoting it to families fearing they would struggle with digitization.

Sustain’s analysis also found that more than £63.5 million in vouchers went unclaimed last year due to low awareness of the scheme.

A major coalition of charities, led by Sustain and The Food Foundation, and including the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal Society of Public Health, have written to the Secretary of Health and State Social Care. Sajid Javid this week urged him to renew the paper voucher while the digital program was fixed.

Sustain campaigner Sofia Parente said: “Every year, millions of pounds in Healthy Start vouchers go unclaimed and families miss out on free fruit, vegetables and milk.

“We welcome the digitization of the service as it is supposed to make adoption and use easier, as well as reduce stigma. But the opposite has happened.

“Eligible families are being denied, cards failing, and calls to the helpline going unanswered. The government needs to extend paper vouchers until the digital scheme goes live, otherwise families exposed to rising food prices will be missed out.”

Zoe McIntyre, of Children Right2Food, The Food Foundation said: “There is no doubt that the digitization of Healthy Start can bring many benefits, but it has to be done well and understanding the plight of the people it is working with. targeting.

“A lot of organisations, retailers and individuals – including Marcus Rashford – have worked hard to tackle this under-absorption issue of this Government scheme to ensure young low-income families are enjoying who have difficulty affording a healthy diet can get the support they need.

“So it’s really heartbreaking to know how many families have been hindered by digital transformation, rather than helped by it. In challenging times like food prices and rising cost of living, the Government really needs to fix these problems immediately.”

The analysis also shows that the average coupon usage rate in the UK in 2021 is 54%.

A Department of Health did not comment.

Read more

Read more Thousands of parents say they are no longer eligible for vital food stamps during the shake-up

Fry Electronics Team

Fry is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button