Women who are not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay from their employer, or are self-employed, may be able to receive Maternity Allowance. This is usually paid for 26 weeks. The earliest payment can start is 11 weeks before the baby is due. To get this benefit you must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 week period ending with the week before your expected week of confinement.
In addition, your earnings on average must be at least equal to the Maternity Allowance Threshold of £30.00 a week. Contributions must be paid, at the latest, before the end of the second tax year after the year in which they were due. If you are not sure whether you have paid enough contributions, contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus, or, in Northern Ireland, social security office.
Further information can be found on The
Pension Service Website.