The maternity allowance is a financial benefit for pregnant women who are self-employed, who are working but do not qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP) or who have recently stopped working. The maternity allowance is paid directly by the Department for Work and Pensions for up to 39 weeks for qualifying applicants. An application must be made for the maternity allowance using the Department for Work and Pensions – Maternity Allowance claim form (MA1).
The amount of maternity allowance payable (if any) depends on eligibility. It can range from £145.18 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for 39 weeks, £27 a week for 39 weeks or £27 a week for 14 weeks.
If you are self employed you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby is due in order to get the full amount of maternity allowance. If you haven’t paid Class 2 National Insurance, you will receive just £27 a week for 39 weeks assuming all the other eligibility conditions are met. You may be able to make extra national insurance payments to qualify for the higher rate.