The Maternity Allowance is a weekly amount of money that women who are pregnant (or have just given birth) can get. It’s 90% of your average weekly (pre-tax) earnings, up to a maximum of £148 a week for 39 weeks.
If you’re self-employed, how much Maternity Allowance you get depends on how much Class 2 National Insurance you’ve paid:
- if you paid Class 2 NI for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you’ll get the full amount
- if you haven’t, you’ll only get £27 a week, but you may be able to get the full rate by making additional NI contributions. HMRC will tell you how through a letter.
You can claim the Maternity Allowance as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. All you need is to fill the MA1 form and send it to HMRC. They’ll send you their decision within 24 working days.
One more thing: Maternity Allowance is a tax-free benefit, so you don’t need to include it in your income when you’re filing a Self Assessment.