DWP benefit for new mums that can boost income by up to £184 | Personal Finance | Finance

New mothers could see a significant increase in their weekly income while they take time off to care for their newborns, thanks to the Maternity Allowance. This payment, provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), can boost a new mother’s income up to £184 for as long as 39 weeks.

Eligible parents can apply for the Maternity Allowance as soon as they reach the 26th week of pregnancy.

Even better, payments can begin from the 11th week before the expected birth date. Payments are made every two or four weeks directly into your bank account, with amounts reaching up to £184.03 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.

Who qualifies for the Maternity Allowance?

The Maternity Allowance is granted to new mothers who are employed but do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, are self-employed, have recently stopped working, or are participating in unpaid work related to their spouse or civil partner’s business.

Employed

For those who are employed, to be eligible for the Maternity Allowance, you must have been employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected birth date. If you have been employed, you must have been earning (or considered as earning) £30 a week or more for at least 13 weeks of your employment – it’s crucial to note that these weeks do not need to be consecutive.

Self-employed

If you are registered as self-employed, you must have been so for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected birth date.

Unpaid work for spouse or civil partner’s business

You could be eligible for Maternity Allowance for up to 14 weeks if, for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due if:

  • You have taken part in unpaid work for the business of your spouse or civil partner.
  • You have not been employed or self-employed.

Meanwhile, your spouse or civil partner must also be registered as self-employed with HMRC and pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. If you’re unsure of your eligibility, you can use the government’s free maternity entitlement calculator here.

How to claim Maternity Allowance

You can apply for Maternity Allowance with an MA1 claim form which can be printed online. Before you send the form off, you will need to provide with it:

  • Proof of income.
  • Proof of a due date or birth.

In some cases you may also need to provide:

  • Your SMP1 form if you were refused Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • Information around your partner’s business and the unpaid work you do for them.

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