This guide explains Maternity Allowance eligibility for those who are expecting a baby. MA social security benefit rates depend most on circumstances at the time the baby is due.
DWP MA RULES: Maternity Allowance is a flat rate weekly payment for pregnant women. But, the exact amount you might get depends on your eligibility.
You may be eligible to get this pregnancy benefit if you do not already qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.
As a rule, expectant mothers can claim Maternity Allowance from 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Even so, your payments do not start until eleven (11) weeks before the expected date of childbirth.
Note: Maternity Allowance rules and regulations mean the payments can have some impact on other benefits.
Even though the Maternity Allowance amount varies you could get:
Maternity Allowance payments can start 11 weeks before the date that your baby is due. Like most benefits and allowances, the money goes into your bank account (or similar) every 2 or 4 weeks.
Note: You can use the maternity entitlement planner to calculate how much you could get.
Maternity Allowance does not affect your tax credits and some individual benefits. But it is likely to affect how much you can get from other benefits including:
Note: The benefit cap may also affect the total amount those aged 16 to 64 can get.
As a rule, one of these must apply for you to get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks:
During those 66 weeks before your baby is due you must also:
If you recently stopped working you may still qualify. Having different jobs or periods of unemployment does not affect this entitlement. Check your eligibility on the maternity planner.
You might be eligible for the 14 week Maternity Allowance. This is providing, for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due, you:
What happens if you have not paid enough Class 2 National Insurance contributions? The Department for Work and Pensions check your Class 2 NI contributions when you claim. They will determine whether your contributions meet the qualifying criteria for Maternity Allowance rules.
DWP will inform you if you have not paid enough Class 2 National Insurance. Perhaps you are self-employed and still waiting to file your Self Assessment tax return?
The Department for Work and Pensions will confirm this by letter. In this case, HMRC will contact you afterwards and inform you how you can make an early payment.
Note: You must quote the reference number in the letter when you pay to get the full rate. This applies even if you made a recent payment through Self Assessment.
Losing the baby does not mean you lose Maternity Allowance. You could still qualify in circumstances where the baby is either:
You must report any changes to your personal circumstances to the local Jobcentre Plus branch. A change of circumstance can affect how much allowance you get, such as if you return to work.
The first step of making a claim is to fill in the details on the Maternity Allowance MA1 claim form. You can either download MA1 claim form or fill it in online. Print it off and mail it to the address written on the form if you prefer.
Telephone Jobcentre Plus to get the DWP Maternity Allowance MA1 form sent to you if you are unable to print it.
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Check a list of phone call charges.
Supporting Proof Required for Your Claim
You will need to provide some proof of your income and the due date for the baby:
If you apply for the 14 week Maternity Allowance you may need to provide extra proof about your partner. They may also need information about a self-employed business and your role in it.
It takes about 24 working days to get a decision on your claim for Maternity Allowance. You will get a confirmation form if you are eligible for the entitlement. The form asks for confirmation of the last day in employment before your maternity leave.
If you disagree with a decision you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. But, there have been some procedural changes. You must now ask for 'mandatory reconsideration' when challenging a benefit decision before you make the appeal.
Maternity Allowance Eligibility Criteria and Rates in the United Kingdom