Maternity Allowance - Can I get Maternity Allowance?
Maternity Allowance is a weekly payment for some women who are pregnant or have recently given birth.
- Last reviewed 19 July 2023
Can I get Maternity Allowance?
Maternity Allowance is money paid to some pregnant people or people who have recently given birth who do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay from their employer because::
They have recently stopped work to have the baby, or
They do not earn enough money.
Self-employed people may also get Maternity Allowance.
You must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks of the period which covers 66 weeks up to and including the week before your baby is due. It does not matter if these 26 weeks are split up or if they are not all for the same employer.
You must also have earned £30 a week averaged over any 13 weeks in the period which covers 66 weeks up to and including the week before your baby is due.
You can claim at any time once you are 26 weeks pregnant.
If you do not qualify for Maternity Allowance, you might qualify for Lower Rate Maternity Allowance.
If you have no recourse to public funds, you might still get Maternity Allowance as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. The criteria depend on your recent employment and earnings history.
Lower Rate Maternity Allowance
If you help your partner run their own business, you might be able to get a new Lower rate of Maternity Allowance.
To qualify, you must not be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or the higher rate of Maternity Allowance for the same pregnancy, and for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due, you must:
- Be married or in a civil partnership with someone who is self-employed
- Not be employed or self-employed yourself
- Take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner
- Not be paid for the work you do for the business.
Your spouse or civil partner must be registered as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and must pay Class 2 National Insurance.
If you are applying for Maternity Allowance for helping your spouse or civil partner in their business, you only have a short period of time in which to apply.
- If you stopped working before 11 weeks before your due date, within 14 weeks after the 11th week before your due date
- If you stopped working at or after 11 weeks before your due date, within 14 weeks after you stop work
- Otherwise, within 14 weeks after you give birth.
For further information, visit Maternity Benefits guidance on gov.uk.
If you start work again
If you work more than 10 days during the period you are entitled to Maternity Allowance, you will lose some of your entitlement to Maternity Allowance. The Job Centre Plus will decide how much Maternity Allowance you will lose. However, this will be calculated at least for the number of days you worked more than 10 days.
If you do any work at all while on Maternity Allowance and you get Maternity Allowance for unpaid work done for your spouse or civil partner in their self-employed business, you will lose some of your entitlement to Maternity Allowance. The Job Centre Plus will decide how much Maternity Allowance you will lose. However, this will be calculated at least for the number of days you worked.
Make sure you report any days you work.