Tax Glossary

Maternity Allowance

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Last updated on:
March 17, 2024

Maternity Allowance is a financial benefit for expecting mothers who are unable to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), including those who are self-employed or have ceased working recently. Eligible recipients can receive payments for up to 39 weeks, starting from at least the 26th week of pregnancy.

Eligibility Criteria for Maternity Allowance

You might be eligible for Maternity Allowance if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Employed but not eligible for SMP.
  • Self-employed.
  • Recently ceased employment.
  • Engaging in unpaid work for your spouse's or civil partner's business.

Additionally, eligibility extends to mothers of babies who are stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy or born alive at any stage.

Benefits Amount

Employed or recently ceased working individuals could receive up to 90% of their average weekly earnings before tax, capped at £151.97 a week for 39 weeks.

Self-Employed Mothers

For self-employed mothers, the amount depends on your Class 2 National Insurance contributions during the 66 weeks leading up to your due date:

  • Full rate entitlement requires at least 13 weeks of contributions.
  • Without sufficient contributions, you're eligible for £27 a week, potentially increased by making voluntary contributions.

Utilize HMRC's calculator to estimate your Maternity Allowance.

Important Update

From the 2024/25 tax year, Class 2 National Insurance will be abolished. You may still opt to make voluntary contributions to qualify for Maternity Allowance and other benefits.

Application Process

To apply, complete and submit the MA1 form to HMRC. Expect a decision within 24 working days. Maternity Allowance is a tax-exempt benefit, so there's no need to report it on your Self Assessment tax return.

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