Maternity Allowance

Maternity Allowance has many of the same benefits as Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) but is paid through Jobcentreplus rather than your employer 

It is a weekly payment of £139.58 or 90% of your weekly salary - whichever is lower 

If you don't qualify for SMP then Maternity Allowance could be for you


Need to know

Who’s it for

  • EMPLOYED MUMS: who started work for their employer after Qualifying Week for Statutory Maternity Pay (26 weeks before they are 15 weeks from their due date- roughly a week before they became pregnant).  CHECK! - if your employer has a Company Maternity Pay you might be much better off.  Check your contract
  • EMPLOYED MUMS: who earn under £112 a week
  • SELF-EMPLOYED MUMS: who have been self-employed for at least 26 weeks paying Class 2 National Insurance or with a small earnings exemption certificate
  • UNEMPLOYED MUMS: who have worked for 26 weeks out of the past 66 weeks (half a year out of a year and a third) and earned an average of at least £30 a week over any 13 week period

The Facts

  • Maternity Allowance is a weekly payment of £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly wage, whichever is lower. It is paid every 2 or 4 weeks straight into your bank account and can be claimed for 39 weeks
  • You can claim once you are 26 weeks pregnant, although your payments cannot start until 11 weeks before your due date
  • The latest the payments can start is just after your baby is born

There is a maternity pay calculator which shows you how much you should be entitled to in under a minute. You just need to know when you started your job, your wage and your due date

How to claim:

  • You can get a pack from your Maternity Clinic or the form can be found here 

Although the form looks long you only have to fill out the sections relevant to you and takes on average 15 minutes.


You will need the following to help fill it out:

  • An SMP1 Form: your employer will give you this if you are employed and ineligible for Statutory Maternity Pay
  • A MAT B1 (Proof of Pregnancy) Certificate: you can get this from your doctor or midwife 21 weeks into your pregnancy
  • Or the birth certificate if you are claiming after the birth
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Details of any benefits you are paid
  • Details of your working Test Period, that is the 66 weeks before your baby is due (there is a handy table included in the form that will work this out for you). Including: Employment addresses, payroll numbers and payment details
  • Payslips for the 13 weeks you wish to submit so your average wage can be calculated, if you worked in different jobs use the payslips with the highest wage, even if they are not consecutive. If possible you want your average weekly wage to be over £153.35 so you can get the maximum allowance of £139.58

If in any doubt call the Jobcentreplus on 0800 055 6688. It took us on average 15 minutes to get through (NOT GREAT!) but once we did they were extremely helpful. The least busy times to call are between 8am and 9am

The form needs to be posted to:

Wrexham Maternity Allowance, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1SU


Find out more about your Maternity Allowance


Why we like it:

  • very clear outline to Maternity Allowance
  • good links to further information

Watch out:

  • bare essentials, doesn’t go into detail

Citizens Advice Bureau

Why we like it:

  • all the information you need about pay and leave
  • advice on your legal rights at work
  • for advice in Wales you can call 08444 77 20 20
  • for advice in England you can call 08444 111 444
  • from a Welsh or English mobile call 03003 300 650
  • you can visit a centre for free face to face advice

Watch out:

  • a HUGE site full of information
  • calls cost 5p a minute from a BT landline
  • phone service isn’t currently available for all areas of England and when it is it can be hard to get through to someone
  • parents in Northern Ireland should visit
  • parents in Scotland should visit

The inside track

  • sooner is always better than later, you can backdate your payments by three months as long as that date is after the qualifying point but if you wait to apply you may miss out on payments
  • Maternity Allowance will not affect your eligibility for Tax credits but you will not be able to claim jobseekers allowance while you are receiving it and other benefits may be reduced
  • if you were on the normal rate of national insurance you will automatically receive NI contribution credits when you claim Maternity Allowance. These are payments made by the government to National Insurance on your behalf to help maintain your national insurance record and protect your pension when you are unable to contribute
  • you may qualify for a £500 Sure Start Maternity Grant 
  • if you are not eligible for Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance you may be able to get Employment and Support Allowance, Jobcentre Plus will automatically consider your entitlement
  • if you receive housing benefit alongside Maternity Allowance your benefits from the government will be capped at the following:
  • £500 a week if you're in a couple, with or without dependent children
  • £500 a week if you're a single parent

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