If you cannot receive Statutory Maternity Pay then you may instead be able to claim Maternity Allowance. The benefit is available to those who have recently given birth or are pregnant.
Maternity Allowance is typically paid to those do not earn enough to claim Statutory Maternity Pay (although it can also be paid to those who have merely stopped working to have a baby)
In order to claim you must have been working (either employed or self-employed) for at least 26 weeks of the “test”period – which is defined as 66 weeks prior to the week before the due date. It doesn’t matter if all the weeks you worked are not concurrent or if you have worked for multiple employers.
Other restrictions are that you must have on average earned over £30 per week for 13 weeks.
You can start to make a claim once you are over 26 weeks pregnant.
How much will I get?
You will either get £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earnings before deductions (whichever is the smaller amount). This assumes you have made enough NI contributions, but if you haven’t contributed enough, you could still receive a reduced amount.
The lower rate of Maternity Allowance is £27 per week for 14 weeks
All payments are tax free and are made for upto 39 weeks.
Impact on other benefits
Maternity Allowance is regarded as income when calculated alongside other means-tested benefits, with the exception of Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits. It will also count as income and be included in the Benefits Cap.
What if I can’t get Maternity Allowance
If you find you cannot get this benefit you could instead apply for income support, which can be paid from 11 weeks before the birth to 15 weeks afterwards.
The criteria for receiving income support in these circumstances are as follows…
- You must not be able to get Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay
- You must be on a low income (or have no income)
- You must be aged 16 years or above
- You must work less than 16 hour per week
- You (or you and your partner) must have under £16,000 in personal savings
- Your partner must work less than 24 hour per week