Maternity Allowance is a weekly payment for some women who are pregnant or have recently given birth but do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay..
In order to qualify you must have been working or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks up to the week your baby is due. It does not matter if these weeks are split up or you were working for different employers.
However, you must have earned an average of £30 a week in any 13 weeks in that 66-week period.
Maternity Allowance is paid for up to 39 weeks depending on your circumstances.
For details of eligibility, how much you will get and how to claim Maternity Allowance are available at GOV.UK website.
For a detailed Guide to Maternity Benefits, follow this link.
Claiming Maternity Allowance
You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you are 26 weeks pregnant.
You will need to fill in Form MA1.
To get a claim form you can telephone Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 or textphone on 0800 023 4888 (8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday).
Alternatively, you can download the form here.
If you would like a version of Form MA1 that you can fill in on your computer and then print off the completed version, use this link.
You will need to provide evidence of your pregnancy. This is usually a medical certificate called a MATB1. Your doctor or midwife will issue you this no earlier than 20 weeks before your baby is due.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you or your partner are already claiming benefits or tax credits you may also qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500.
Healthy Start Scheme
If you are pregnant and/or have at least one child under four years old and your family are in receipt of certain benefits you may be entitled to free milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins under the Healthy Start Scheme.
Maternity Allowance counts towards the Benefit Cap. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level.
For details on the Benefit Cap follow this link.
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