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UK Benefit Guide

Benefits Guides

You are here: Benefits Guides  |  Maternity Allowance

Maternity Allowance

What is it?

Maternity Allowance (MA) is for pregnant women who cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay. It can be paid by the Benefits Agency for up to 39 weeks.

Are you:

* Employed or self Employed?
* Earning on average £30 a week or more?
* Previously worked recently?

If yes to any, claim MA.

Are you?

Now unemployed or not working but previously had been working within the last year?

If yes: You could have a claim

You may be able to choose when to start getting your Maternity Allowance (MA). The earliest you can start getting MA is in the 11th week before the week your baby is due. The latest you can start getting MA is the week after your baby is born.

You normally cannot get MA for weeks that you are working, although you can now work up to 10 days during the 39 week Maternity Allowance pay period without losing entitlement.

If you cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance (MA), you may be able to get Employment Support Allowance or Income Support.

You must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in your test period (66 weeks before the week your baby is due) and you must earn at least £30 a week on average.

Your average earnings are worked out either:

If your gross earnings from one job in any week are at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL £120 Weekly) at the end of that week, and this applies for 13 weeks in the test period, you will be entitled to standard rate MA. These weeks can be any separate weeks and you can choose which 13 weeks to use, or

If the above does not apply to you, then your earnings can be averaged over any 13 weeks in a row during the test period. You can choose the 13 weeks in a row where you were paid the higher earnings. If you have more than one job, your earnings from each job will be added together and divided by 13, to work out your average. If your average earnings are at least equal to the LEL in place at the beginning of your test period, you will receive standard rate MA. If your average earnings are below the LEL, but £30 a week or more, you will get MA worth 90% of your average earnings. You cannot get more than the standard rate.

Weekly amounts

Average earnings at least the LEL, which applies at the beginning of your test period. Standard rate £151.20

Average earnings at least £30 a week 90% of your average weekly earnings will be paid

If you are self-employed and pay Class 2 NI contributions, you will be treated as earning £168 a week. If you hold a small earnings exception, you will be treated as earning £30 a week.

When to claim?

Claim as soon as you can, after you have been pregnant for 26 weeks. If you delay you may lose out.