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Any pregnant woman can avail the benefits of Maternity Allowance if only, she is unable to claim the  Statutory Maternity Pay even after being employed. This payment is granted by the Government instead of your employer. The amount usually varies from person to person depending on eligibility factors. 

If you do not qualify for the Statutory Maternity Pay then you can easily apply for Maternity Allowance. You need to be working for a period of at least 26 weeks of the 66 weeks. Thus, leading to the due date to claim and get this benefit. 

However, Maternity Allowance varies based on certain aspects such as employed and self-employed women. You can claim the privileges as soon as you reach your 26th week of pregnancy.

What are the Criteria to Avail the Maternity Allowance?

If you want to claim the benefits of Maternity Allowance, then make sure that you qualify for all the criteria.  

For 39 weeks you get to enjoy the benefits only if you meet the following criteria: 

  1. Make sure that you are an employee and unable to claim the Statutory Maternity Pay. 
  2. If you are self-employed and along with that paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions, you get the benefits. This also includes Voluntary National Insurance. 
  3. Further, if you have stopped working recently, then also you can claim Maternity Allowance. 

When you are in the 66 weeks before your baby is due, check whether you qualify for the following criteria: 

  1. If you have worked for 26 weeks or have remained self-employed, then you can get this benefit.
  2. Check whether you have earned €30 in a week or more for at least 13 weeks. The weeks might not continue.  

Statutory Maternity Pay: 

This payment will help you to get a minimum amount in those 39 weeks of your pregnancy. With the help of this benefit, in the 2019-2020 tax year, you can get 90% of your weekly earnings for the first six weeks. 

For the next 33 weeks, you will be paid £148.68. Otherwise, 90% of your average weekly income. When you take maternity leave, the payments will start automatically. 

But for this, you need to provide proof of pregnancy be it a doctor’s letter or a MATB1 certificate. You need to have a weekly average pay of about £118 before tax or more. Further, you need to be employed until 15 weeks from your due date.

If you are not qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay, then you can undoubtedly apply for the Maternity Allowance.

Maternity Allowance for those who are Not Working 

It might be possible that you are not employed or self-employed but instead helping your self-employed spouse with their business. In that case, you can get the Maternity Allowance. 

It can even be possible that you run a business with your civil partner, then also you can get the allowance at a rate of £27 per week for the 14 weeks. 

You should know you can get this allowance for up to 39 weeks. You get to claim it from the 26th week of your pregnancy. The earliest payment you can receive is 11 weeks before the baby’s due date. 

Maternity Allowance for the Self Employed Woman 

If you are self-employed, then also you can avail this allowance easily. It can act as a boost to your income. 

To get full maternity allowance, then for at least 13 weeks, pay the Class 2 National Insurance Contribution. 

At the time of claiming, the Department for Work and Pensions will check whether you have paid enough Class 2 NI contributions or not. You can even check that manually by going to the UK Government’s official website. 

Sometimes, it can happen that you are eligible based on the other criteria except that you have not paid enough Class 2 NI contribution to get the full rate which is €148.68 a week. At that time, you will get £27 a week for the next 39 weeks. 

You can also add an extra contribution to the National Insurance to ensure that you get the entire benefit. You can easily understand how to do this with the help of the HMRC’s guidance as soon as you make a claim. 

What Comes Under the Benefit Cap? 

Now, the Benefit Cap limits the number of advantages that you can gain from Maternity Allowance. If your age is 16 or more, and have not reached the State Pension age then you are eligible for Benefit Cap. 

Basically, certain individual benefits are not affected by this. But it might affect the total amount of benefit that you get through Maternal Allowance.  

Will Maternal Allowance affect other benefits

There are some benefits that will be affected by your Maternity benefits. This generally includes housing benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support, Carer’s Allowance. 

Furthermore, it can also affect the Council Tax Reduction, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and bereavement benefits. 

If you are currently enjoying the claims of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), then this might come to a halt as soon as you start getting the Maternity Allowance

What to do if You are Unable to Get the Maternity Allowance

Sometimes, it might be possible that you are not qualified for the Maternity Allowance and then you can get Income Support. In general, it starts from 11 weeks, before your baby’s due date. 

Income Support continues for 15 weeks even after the birth of the baby. But make sure that you are qualified to fulfill the following criteria:  

  1. You are not qualified for the Maternity Allowance or the Statutory Maternity Pay, then seek help from the Income Support to avail the benefits.
  2. Sometimes, you might not have any stable form of income or low-income rate and then avail this benefit.
  3. Make sure that your age is 16 or over and you are not working or probably working for less than 16 hours a week. 
  4. If your savings amount to less than £16,000, then you can claim this benefit. 

You might not know that your partner or spouse’s income and savings are also counted if you want to claim the Maternity Allowance. Your partner must be working for 24 hours or less so that you can get the benefits of Income Support.

Now, if you are a single parent and want to get this benefit until your child becomes 5 years old, then apply for Income Support. Claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit as well, after the birth of your baby. 

Presently, Income Support is being considered to be replaced by Universal Credit. When you are making a claim, you get the requisite information as to which benefit you should apply for. 

How can you apply for Maternity Allowance? 

At first, you need to fill out the MA1 form. Go to the official website of the UK government to download this form. When you are in the 26th week of your pregnancy, you get to claim the maternity allowance. 

Along with the allowance claim form you also need to submit 3 important documents:

  1. You need to submit your original payslips such as your MATB1 certificates.
  2. A letter from a medical professional as a proof of the due date. You can also submit the MATB1 certificate.
  3. If the employer is not willing to grant the Statutory Maternity Pay, then submit the SMP1 form.

Maternity Allowance is paid directly to your bank account or your Post office account. Being a tax-free payment, with an interval of two to four weeks the amount gets deposited in the account without affecting the tax-credit. <

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