3. Eligibility

Maternity allowance for 39 weeks

You might get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if one of the following applies:

  • you’re employed, but you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay
  • you’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance (including Voluntary National Insurance) for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due - the amount of Maternity Allowance you get depends on how much Class 2 National Insurance you’ve paid
  • you’ve recently stopped working

In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:

  • employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
  • earning (or classed as earning) at least £30 a week over any 13-week period

You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It doesn’t matter if you had different jobs or periods of unemployment.

Use the maternity entitlement calculator to check your eligibility.

Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks

You might get Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks if for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you’re not employed or self-employed
  • you take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner
  • the work you do is for the business and unpaid
  • your spouse or civil partner is registered as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and should pay Class 2 National Insurance
  • your spouse or civil partner is working as self-employed person
  • you’re not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or the higher amount of Maternity Allowance (for the same pregnancy)

Your baby must also be due on or after 27 July 2014.

If you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance

Contact Jobcentre Plus if you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to qualify for Maternity Allowance when you make your claim (eg because you’re self-employed and haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return yet).

HMRC will contact you to let you know how to make an early payment.

If you lose the baby

You may still qualify if the baby is either:

  • stillborn from the start of the 24th week of pregnancy
  • born alive at any point during the pregnancy

Change of circumstances

Report any changes to your circumstances to your local Jobcentre Plus as they can affect how much you get. For example, if you go back to work.