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What is Maternity Allowance?

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What is Maternity Allowance?

victoria hicks pcwm

By Victoria Hicks – PCWM

Maternity Allowance (MA) is a weekly benefit paid by Jobcentre Plus to some women who are pregnant or have just given birth. This is typically for those who don’t qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay and the amount you receive depends on your eligibility. MA can be claimed after you are 26 weeks pregnant and can be paid from 11 weeks before your due date.

The full rate of MA is £145.18 per week or 90% of your weekly earnings where this is lower, for a period of 39 weeks. This is paid where sufficient National Insurance contributions have been made and one of the following applies:

• You are employed but can’t receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
• You are self-employed
• You have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks of the 66 weeks before your baby is due

There is a useful maternity entitlement calculator available at www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents, and the Department for Work and Pensions will check if you’ve paid enough National Insurance when you make a claim.

If you have not paid enough, there is a lower rate of MA available of £27 per week for 39 if you meet the other criteria, or 14 weeks if you do unpaid work in a spouse or civil partners self-employed business.

To claim you need to complete an MA1 claim form which can be submitted once you have been pregnant for 26 weeks. In addition, you will need to provide proof of income, proof of your due date, a SMP1 form if your employer has refused SMP and information about your partners self-employed business and your role if applying for the lower rate of MA for 14 weeks.

If you are eligible for a 39-week Maternity Allowance Period (MAP) you are allowed to work (employed or self-employed) for up to 10 days without losing your allowance. The amount you get paid will not impact your MA. These days are known as Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. You need to inform Jobcentre Plus if you do any work during your MAP and it is important to mention that even working for just a short period of time on any given day is classed as a whole KIT day. If you work for more than 10 days a decision maker will decide whether any further payments can be made.

If you take part in the business of your self-employed spouse/civil partner during the 14-week MAP, you must tell Jobcentre Plus straight away and a decision maker will decide whether any further payments can be made or whether MA is lost for the time worked.

victoria hicks MMB Magazine family financeVictoria Hicks is MMB Magazines columnist for all things family finance. A Director & Chartered Financial Planner with a young family herself. Contact or read more about Victoria Hicks here

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