Skip to content

Maternity Allowance

Maternity Allowance is usually paid to you if you din’t qualify for Statutory Matenity Pay. The amount you can get depends on your eligibility. You ca claim Maternity Allowance a soon as you have been pregnant for 26 weeks. Paymants can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

What you’ll get

The amount you can get depends on your eligibility.

You could get either:

  • £138.18 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for up to 39 weeks
  • £27 a week for up to 14 weeks (if your baby is due on or after 27 July 2014).
  • Maternity Allowance is paid every 2 or 4 weeks.
  • You can claim Maternuty Allowance once you have been pregnant for 26 weeks.
  • Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

How you’re paid

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, eg a bank account.

Effect on benefits or tax credits

Materinty Allowance won’t affect you tax credits but it will affect how much you get for:


You might get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if:

  • you're employed, but you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay
  • you're self-employed and paying Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs),
  • you’re self-employed and have a Small Earnings Exception certificate
  • you have recently stopped working.

You must also have been:

  • employed and/or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due
  • earning at least £30 a week over any 13-week period

You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It doesn’t matter if you had differnet jobs or periods of unempolyment.

Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks

You might get Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks if for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you’re not employed or self-employed
  • you take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner
  • the work you do is for the business and unpaid
  • your spouse or civil partner is registered as self-employed with HMRC and should pay Class 2 National Insurance
  • your spouse or civil partner is working as self-employed person
  • you’re not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or the higher amount of Maternity Allowance (for the same pregnancy)

Your baby must also be due on or after 27 July 2014.

If you lose the baby

You may still qualify if the baby is either:

  • stillborn from the start of the 24th week of pregnancy
  • born alive at any point during the pregnancy

More information can be found in the leaflet 'A Guide to Maternity Benefits - NI17A'.

  • Employment and Support Allowance  
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant

How to claim

You can claim MA as soon as you've been pregnant for 26 weeks. To get a claim form (Form MA1) you can call the Social Security Agency on 028 9082 3318 or download one from the nidirect website, print it off and send it to the address on the form.

You'll need to provide

  • proof of your income – eg original payslips, Small Earnings Exception certificate (if applicable)
  • Proof of the baby’s due date – e.g. a letter from the doctor omidwife, or your MATB1 certificate
  • Your SMP1 form – only if you were refused Statutory Maternity Pay by your employer
  • You may need to givce more information about your partner’s self-employed business and what you do if you are applying to Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks.

For more information contact the Social Security Agency.

What if your circumstances change?

It's important you tell Incapacity Benefits Branch if your circumstances change.

If you do some work for an employer, or as a self-employed person, before your MA is due to end, you will be able to work for up to ten days without losing any MA. If you work for more than ten days, you will lose MA for the days you work after that.

You must tell Incapacity Benefits Branch about any work you do when you are receiving MA.

Changes that don't affect the payment include:

  • going into hospital
  • going into a nursing home or residential care
  • starting voluntary work
  • Incapacity Benefits Branch (contacts section)
  • Tell HM Revenue and Customs about a change of income or circumstance

How to Appeal

If you're refused Maternity Allowance or if you have any queries about your payment, you can ask Incapacity Benefits Branch to look again at their decision.

If you're still unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal.

  • How to appeal against a benefits decision

What else you need to know

Each time you get pregnant you must use the expected week of childbirth of your new pregnancy to work out your allowance for that pregnancy.

National Insurance Credits are available for each complete week (Sunday through to Saturday) within your Maternity Allowance period.

More useful links