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Maternity Allowance

What is it?

Maternity Allowance is a benefit paid by the government to pregnant women who don't qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay. The amount paid and the length it is paid for depends on your circumstances. 

Am I eligible?

You may be able to get it for 39 weeks if:

  • you're employed but can't claim Statutory Maternity Pay
  • you're self-employed and paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions
  • you've recently stopped working

In the 66 weeks before your baby's due:

  • you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks, and
  • you must have earned £30 or more a week for at least 13 of those weeks - the weeks don't have to be together.

You can check your eligibility for maternity allowance using the pay leave for parents calculator on the DWP website.

Who pays it?

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

How do I apply?

Request a claim form from your midwife or by calling 0800 055 6688. Alternatively, you can print a claim form on the DWP website.

You can claim Maternity Allowance as soon as you've been pregnant for 26 weeks. Payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due.

Are there any age limits?

16 and over. 

Is it National Insurance based?


Is it means-tested


How long does it last?

It can be paid for 14 weeks or in some cases for up to 39 weeks depending on your employment history.

Does it affect other benefits?

Maternity Allowance will not affect your tax credits but it will affect how much you get for:

  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Housing Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) - this will stop if you get Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Is it taxable?


Are there any dependant's additions?


Is it payable in the European Union?

Yes for temporary absences.

Can I challenge the decision?

You can challenge a decision about maternity allowance if you are unhappy with it.

By the time you reach the 26th week of pregnancy, you must have worked 26 weeks of the previous 66 weeks and earned the minimum amount.


Page last updated:
29 Feb 2024

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