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. The guidelines to ‘Lwfans Mamolaeth‘ are also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).
Maternity Allowance Amount 2022/23
Even though the Maternity Allowance amount varies you could get:
- The lesser of £156.66 each week or 90% of your average weekly earnings for up to 39 weeks (or)
- £27 per week for up to 39 weeks (or)
- £27 per week for up to 14 weeks.
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 Rules for other Benefits
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:
- Council Tax Reduction
- Certain Bereavement Benefits
- Carer’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA stops if you get Maternity Allowance)
- Universal Credit
Note: The benefit cap may also affect the total amount those aged 16 to 64 can get.
Maternity Allowance Eligibility Criteria
Maternity Pay for 39 Weeks
As a rule, one of these must apply for you to get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks:
- You stopped working recently.
- You are in employment but unable to get Statutory Maternity Pay.
- You are self-employed paying Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 weeks of the 66 before the birth. This includes voluntary National Insurance contributions.
During those 66 weeks before your baby is due you must also:
- Have been in employment or self-employed for at least 26 weeks.
- Have been earning (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks (weeks do not need to be together).
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.
Maternity Pay for 14 Weeks
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:
- Have a husband or wife (or living in a civil partnership).
- Are not employed or self-employed.
- Take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner.
- Do unpaid work for the business.
- Have a spouse or civil partner registered self-employed with HMRC paying Class 2 National Insurance.
- Have a spouse or civil partner works as a self-employed person.
- Cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay or higher level Maternity Allowance (for the same pregnancy).
Not Enough Class 2 National Insurance?
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.
Maternity Pay if Self Employed
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.
If You Lose the Baby
Losing the baby does not mean you lose Maternity Allowance. You could still qualify in circumstances where the baby is either:
- Registered as stillborn from the beginning of week 24 of the pregnancy.
- Born alive at any point during the pregnancy.
Reporting a Change of Circumstances
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.
Claiming Maternity Allowance: MA1 Claim Form
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.
Supporting Proof Required for Your Claim
You will need to provide some proof of your income and the due date for the baby:
- Income: Original payslips or Certificate of Small Earnings Exemption (2014 to 2015 tax year).
- Baby’s Due Date: Your MATB1 certificate or a letter from the doctor or midwife.
- SMP1 Form: Only required if your employer did not grant Statutory Maternity Pay for you.
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.
Appealing a Decision on Maternity Allowance
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.