3. Eligibility

You can use the maternity entitlement calculator to check your eligibility.

Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks

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

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) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks - the weeks don’t have to be together

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

If you’re self-employed

To get the full amount of Maternity Allowance, you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will check if you’ve paid enough when you make your claim. They’ll write to you if you haven’t.

If you haven’t paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to get the full rate (£139.58 a week), you’ll get £27 a week for 39 weeks. You still need to meet all the other eligibility criteria to get this amount.

You may be able to get the full rate by making early National Insurance payments. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a letter to tell you how.

You’ll need to pay using the reference number in the letter to get the full rate, even if you’ve recently made a payment through Self Assessment.

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 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)

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.