NI17A - A guide to Maternity Benefits
Maternity Allowance (MA)
When MA is paid
Unless your baby is born earlier you cannot get any MA until 11 weeks before the week the baby is due but only if you stop work before then. If you continue to be employed or self-employed there is some flexibility as to exactly when the payments start, and you can choose the date depending on when you stop work.
The Maternity Allowance Period
The payment period for MA is called the Maternity Allowance Period or MAP. MA can be paid for a continuous period of up to 39 weeks.
Working out your MAP
Your MAP will start at the earliest date if, at the start of the 11th week before the week in which your baby is due, any one of the following applies to you:
- you have already given up work as an employed or self-employed person or
- you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) (this will stop when MA starts) or
- you are no longer employed or self-employed but are claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
(Exceptionally, if your baby is born prematurely, more than 11 weeks before it was due, your MAP will start earlier. See ‘Premature births’.)
Changes that will affect the start date of your MAP
If at the start of the 11th week before the week your baby is due any one of the following applies:
- you are still working as an employed or a self-employed person or
- you are getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer or
- you have not yet given up your job but are claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance
you can chose to start your MAP later once you have stopped work to have your baby.
You can chose the date you want your MAP to start. This may be any day of the week. If you qualify for maternity leave from your employer the start date of your MAP will be the same day as the day your maternity leave begins.
But if your baby is born before the date you told your employer you were going to stop work, your MAP will start from the day following the day you gave birth.
If you are absent from work wholly or partly because of your pregnancy on or after the beginning of the 4th week before your EWC the rules below apply.
Absence from work due to pregnancy in the 4 weeks before the week your baby is due
An absence, wholly or partly because of your pregnancy, will trigger the start of your MAP if you are absent from work for a pregnancy-related reason on or after the start of the 4th week before the week your baby is due. Your MAP will then start automatically from the day following the first complete day you are absent from work for a pregnancy-related reason in that 4 week period.
Baby born late
If your baby is born later than the week in which it was due, your MAP will not change if it has already started. If you continue to work beyond the date your baby is due and you give birth, your MAP will start the day following the day your baby was born.
If your baby is born prematurely, your MAP may or may not be affected, depending on how premature the birth is.
If your baby is born prematurely after your MAP has started, nothing will change.
If your baby is born before your MAP was due to start, your MAP will start from the day following the day on which your baby was born.
Twins or multiple births
If you are expecting more than one baby, your entitlement to MA is exactly the same as if you were expecting only one.
If your baby dies
If your baby is born dead earlier than the 24th week of your pregnancy you will not be able to get SMP. But you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from your employer or Employment and Support Allowance from Jobcentre Plus.
If your baby is stillborn from the start of the 24th week of pregnancy and you have notification for the registration of a stillbirth from the attending doctor or midwife or a certificate of stillbirth, you are entitled to SMP where all the conditions for payment are satisfied.
If your baby is born alive and then dies, you are still entitled to SMP.