Maternity Allowance is a government-funded weekly payment available to pregnant women or has recently given birth. If you don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, you’ll generally get it. Maternity Allowance is claimed after you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks, and payments can begin 11 weeks before your baby is due.

How much is Maternity Allowance?

Maternity Allowance is tax-free, and you can receive one of the following:

  • For 39 weeks, you will receive 90% of your average weekly earnings (before taxes), up to a limit of £151.20 per week.
  • For 39 weeks, you’ll be paid £27 a week.
  • £27 a week for a period of 14 weeks

Payments usually begin when you go on maternity leave. They also begin automatically if you’re out of work due to a pregnancy-related illness up to four weeks before your due date.

Maternity Allowance does not affect the tax credits, but it can affect other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Universal Credit.

When receiving Maternity Allowance, you can also start receiving Class 1 National Insurance credits. These credits are significant because they affect your State Pension eligibility.

Who is eligible for Maternity Allowance?

If you’re working but can’t seek Statutory Maternity, you may be able to get it for 39 weeks. If you’re self-employed and paying Class 2 National Insurance premiums, including voluntary NICs, and you’ve recently stopped working, you might be eligible for a lump-sum payment.

You must have worked or been self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to your baby’s due date, and for at least 13 of those weeks, you would have paid £30 or more a week – the weeks do not have to be consecutive.

How to apply for Maternity Allowance?

An individual has to obtain a Maternity allowance form, i.e. MA1 form, downloaded from the UK government’s website. As soon as a woman reaches the 26th week of pregnancy, she can file a lawsuit.

An individual must provide the following information with their claim form:

  • Accurate payslips
  • The baby’s due date must be recorded (such as a letter from a medical professional or your MATB1 certificate)
  • SMP1 form (in case of refused statutory maternity pay by your employer)