Thanks for your question. Maternity Allowance is a benefit for women who have changed jobs during pregnancy or are self-employed or have had low earnings or unemployment during their pregnancy. Maternity Allowance lasts for 39 weeks from 1st April 2007. You can get Maternity Allowance if you have worked for 26 weeks (about 6 months) during the 66 weeks before your baby is due or you can find 13 weeks in which you earned over £30 a week. The earliest it can start being paid is 11 weeks before your baby is due. It currently pays £112.75 or 90% of your average gross weekly earnings if this is less than £112.75.
To claim Maternity Allowance, ask your local Jobcentre Plus for form MA1.
This website gives further information; http://www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/ni17a/ma/index.asp
All mothers qualify for some benefits in and after pregnancy -
- Child Benefit - tax-free benefit to help with the cost of caring for children. It is payable for each child from birth until at least 16 years.
- Free Prescriptions - NHS prescriptions are free while pregnant and for 12 months after birth. To claim if you are pregnant, ask your doctor or midwife for form FW8 and send it to your Health Authority
- Free dental treatment - You can get free NHS dental care if you are pregnant or given birth within the last 12 months. You claim by ticking a box on a form provided by the dentist or showing your Exemption Certificate
A study of benefits found if monies are paid directly to mothers they are more likely to be spent in ways that benefit children or the family as a whole than if it goes to fathers 1.The Job Centre Plus may have an office near you or telephone on 0800 055 6688 (8am - 6pm Monday to Friday).
1 Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Distribution of income within families receiving benefits, April 1998 - Ref 468