Maternity Allowance

Maternity Allowance is usually paid to you if you don't qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay. The amount you can get depends on your eligibility. You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you have been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments 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:

  • £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for up to 39 weeks, or
  • £27 a week for up to 14 weeks

You can claim Maternity Allowance once you’ve 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, such as a bank account.

  • Maternity Allowance is paid every 2 or 4 weeks

Effect on benefits or tax credits

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

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit/Rate Relief
  • Income Support
  • Bereavement benefits
  • Jobseeker's Allowance – this will stop if you get Maternity Allowance

Eligibility

You might get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if one of the following applies:

  • you're employed, but you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay
  • you’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance (including Voluntary National Insurance) for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due - the amount of Maternity Allowance you get depends on how much Class 2 National Insurance you’ve paid
  • you have recently stopped working 

In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:

  • employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
  • earning (or classed as earning) at least £30 a week over any 13-week period – the weeks don’t have to be together.

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

Use the maternity entitlement calculator to check your eligibility.

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)

If you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance

We will check if you’ve paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to qualify for Maternity Allowance when you make your claim.

If you haven’t (eg because you’re self-employed and haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return yet), we will write to you to let you know.

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

How to claim

You can claim Maternity Allowance 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 and print it off and send it to the address on the form.

You'll need to provide

  • proof of your income for example original payslips, Small Earnings Exception certificate (if applicable for the 2014 to 2015 tax year)
  • proof of the baby’s due date such as a letter from the doctor or midwife, or your MATB1 certificate
  • your SMP1 form but only if you were refused Statutory Maternity Pay by your employer
  • you may need to give more information about your partner’s self-employed business and what you do if you are applying for Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks

For more information contact the Social Security Agency.

Important: The date the claim form is received in a Social Security Agency office is the date we can consider payment from - not the date you downloaded the claim form.

What if your circumstances change?

It's important you tell Incapacity Benefits Branch if your circumstances change as this can effect how much you get.  For example, if you go back to work..

How to appeal

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

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

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