NI17A - A guide to Maternity Benefits
Maternity Allowance (MA)
How to claim MA
You can claim MA when you reach the 14th week before the week in which your baby is due (the 27th week of pregnancy). Ask Jobcentre Plus for a MA Claim pack or you can download a MA claim pack in PDF format.
You can contact Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 66 88.
If you have speech or hearing difficulties you can contact Jobcentre Plus using a textphone on 0800 023 48 88.
Or you can visit GOV.UK
- Maternity Allowance (GOV.UK)
You can also get a MA claim pack from your maternity clinic or child health clinic.
NOTE: You can claim even if you are still working. Do not delay your claim. If you claim more than 3 months after the date your Maternity Allowance Period (MAP) is due to start, you will lose money.
Fill in claim form MA1 carefully. The information you give on the form will be used to calculate your entitlement to MA. Jobcentre Plus will carry out a series of checks on the information you supply. So it is important that the details you give are correct, or you might not get your correct entitlement. If you are in any doubt, say so. Do not sign and date the MA claim form earlier than the 14th week before the week in which your baby is due. The information provided on the claim form must be correct at this time. If you date it earlier than this Jobcentre Plus will send the MA claim form back to you.
When you have filled in the claim form, take it or send it to Jobcentre Plus together with medical evidence of when the baby is due and any other information required. To find out which office to send it to, phone Jobcentre Plus on the numbers shown above, or visit their website.
Claim as soon as you can, even if you are still at work or if you do not have the medical evidence needed, or cannot provide any other information needed to complete the claim form. You can send that later but explain in the claim form why you cannot give all the information needed.
Proving your baby is due
You must provide Jobcentre Plus with medical evidence of the date your baby is due. Your doctor or midwife will give you a maternity certificate (form MATB1) after you reach the 20th week before the week in which your baby is due (the 21st week of pregnancy). It cannot be given to you any sooner. Your midwife will usually give you this at your next ante-natal appointment from the 21st week of your pregnancy.
Proving your earnings
You must send us original payslips for the 13 week period you have chosen from your test period. Send them to Jobcentre Plus with your MA1 claim form. Your claim may be delayed if you do not send proof of earnings. Your original payslips will be returned to you.
If you are self-employed proof of earnings are not required to establish the rate of MA. However, on receipt of your MA1 claim form Jobcentre Plus will check with HM Revenue & Customs to see if you have been registered as self-employed and/or whether Class 2 NI contributions have been paid or if a small earnings exception certificate is in place.
Claiming if you still work for an employer
If you are working for an employer during the 15th week before your EWC (the 26th week of pregnancy), you may be able to get SMP from your employer. Your employer may need to see your maternity certificate (form MATB1) to see if you qualify for SMP.
If you are not entitled to SMP, your employer will return your maternity certificate to you, together with an SMP exclusion form (SMP1) on which they have given the reasons for not paying you SMP. Send the SMP1 and your maternity certificate to Jobcentre Plus with your Maternity Allowance claim form (MA1). You should send form SMP1 with your MA claim if you were employed at any time in the 15th week before the week in which your baby is due. If you have more than one employer in the 15th week before the week in which your baby is due you must get form SMP1 from each employer. If you do not enclose SMP1, Jobcentre Plus will return your claim form and your maternity certificate to you with a note telling you to ask your employer (or employers) if you are entitled to SMP. All this could delay matters. If your MA claim was successful tell your employer.
Claiming if you have stopped working for an employer
If you are not employed during the 15th week before your EWC, you can claim MA by sending or taking your claim form (MA1) and your maternity certificate (form MATB1) to Jobcentre Plus.
Claiming if you are self-employed
If you are self-employed, claim on form MA1, which you should take or send to Jobcentre Plus together with your maternity certificate (form MATB1) and your small earnings exception certificate, if you have one. If you were also employed at any time in the 15th week before the week in which your baby is due, you must also provide a form SMP1 with your claim to show why your employer will not pay you SMP. You should get form SMP1 from your employer.
If you are both self-employed and employed and you qualify for SMP from your employer, you cannot get MA as well.
Claiming before you stop working
If you decide to work later into your pregnancy, you can claim MA before you stop working. Jobcentre Plus will work out if you can get MA, how much to pay you and how long for. They will send you a form (BM25A) notifying you of your entitlement and asking you to let them know the date when you stop work to have your baby so that payments can start. You should also remember to tell your employer so that you can go on maternity leave. For more information on maternity leave go to the Directgov website.
- Maternity leave (GOV.UK)
Claiming too early
If you send in your claim too early, Jobcentre Plus will return it to you with any relevant information, and ask you to send it in later.
Claiming after the baby is born
If you have been unable to claim before the birth of your baby because the baby was born earlier than you expected or you have delayed your claim until after the birth ask the doctor or midwife to give you a certificate (MATB1), showing on it the date on which the baby was due.
NOTE: If you claim more than 3 months after the date your MAP is due to start, you will lose money.