Are you set to apply for maternity allowance? There is currently a backlog of applications that you need to be made aware of.
Maternity Allowance helps mummies everywhere who are ineligible for SMP or company maternity pay; it isn’t much, but it is a huge help in getting us through our maternity leave and covering important costs. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to such a system, as many countries don’t have standard maternity pay, but it can be inconvenient when a system that you’ve planned to use has issues that could impact you.
The Department of Work and Pensions is warning mummies to be that the system is facing a backlog; the duration mummies are being told has varied but we’re being told it is currently a 12 week wait. However, there are mums who have already had their babies who are still waiting and who are now relying on the kindness of friends and family, Universal Credit advances, credit cards and overdrafts, to get by.
We think that this is really important news; the sooner you’re made aware, the sooner you and your partner can get organised to try and bridge the gap.
Affected mums have been setting social media ablaze with their annoyance at the backlog, and we can’t say we blame them – it must be incredibly frustrating!
Maternity allowance is a joke!! How am I supposed to go 14 weeks without getting paid a penny yet still pay rent/tax/food etc😰🤣
— Amy Baird (@Amybaird26x) October 21, 2019
Because I became a first time mumma in August and still yet to receive my maternity allowance, child benefit or universal credit, so have no income meaning I haven’t been able to treat myself in months and none of my clothes fit me now 🙃
— Sammiii Suicide (@OhSammiii) October 23, 2019
A potential decision when he’ll already be month old 🙃 great. I go on maternity leave in just over 5 weeks. I could be penniless for a further 9 weeks after that. #maternityallowance pic.twitter.com/e6GMzHZbYU
— Rushina Paris 🌸 (@RushinaParis) October 22, 2019
What is Maternity Allowance?
Maternity Allowance is paid to mummies who are not eligible for SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) and/or company pay.
Am I eligible for Maternity Allowance?
You might be eligible if one of the following applies to you;
- you’re employed, but you cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay
- you’re self-employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance (including voluntary National Insurance)
- you’ve recently stopped working
In the 66 weeks before your baby’s due, you must also have been:
- employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks
- earning (or classed as earning) £30 a week or more in at least 13 weeks – the weeks do not have to be together
You may still qualify if you’ve recently stopped working. It doesn’t matter if you had different jobs or periods of unemployment.
If you’re self-employed
The Gov.UK site says…
“To get the full amount of Maternity Allowance, you must have paid Class 2 National Insurance for at least 13 of the 66 weeks before your baby’s due.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will check if you’ve paid enough when you make your claim. They’ll write to you if you have not.
If you have not paid enough Class 2 National Insurance to get the full rate (£148.68 a week), you’ll get £27 a week for 39 weeks. You still need to meet all the other eligibility criteria to get this amount.
You may be able to get the full rate by making early National Insurance payments. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a letter to tell you how.
You’ll need to pay using the reference number in the letter to get the full rate, even if you’ve recently made a payment through Self Assessment.”
Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks
You may get Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks if for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due:
- you’re married or in a civil partnership
- you’re not employed or self-employed
- you take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner
- the work you do is for the business and unpaid
- your spouse or civil partner is registered as self-employed with HMRC and should pay Class 2 National Insurance
- your spouse or civil partner is working as self-employed person
- you’re not eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or the higher amount of Maternity Allowance (for the same pregnancy)
How can I apply, and when should I apply for Maternity Allowance?
You can apply here; you can’t apply until the 26th week of your pregnancy, 11 weeks before your due date.
So, if there is a 12 week backdate, and you need to go on maternity leave earlier than your due date and/or your baby is born earlier than planned, there is potential for a period of time where you’re on maternity leave with no income. This has caused problems for a large number of families.
The Gov.UK website states that you should hear back in within 70 working days, which is approximately 8 weeks and much more doable for most applicants! The current backlog has made this wait much longer.
The backlog is affecting me; what can I do?
- If there is still time before you need to apply, try to save as much money as possible – easier said than done, we know, but stick to basic purchases for baby, and save every penny that you possibly can.
- Remember that Christmas isn’t all about gifts; don’t feel under pressure to buy presents, keep it low key and enjoy the time with your loved ones. The money will be best spent where it is needed.
- Ring 0800 169 0283 to request fast-track emergency payments – these will be advances of any maternity allowance you’re due to get.
- Avoid getting into debt but have a low interest credit card for emergencies.
- You may be eligible for some Universal Credit if your income is low enough; see more on the Maternity Action website here.
The DWP have assured applicants that payments will be backdated once processed.
A spokesperson has stated;
“We understand how important this financial support is for new parents and are sorry for the delays some are currently experiencing. We are putting more staff in place to speed up the process and are fast tracking emergency cases. You can apply 14 weeks before the week in which your baby is born, so we urge people to apply as soon as they are eligible.”
Tell us in the comments; have you been affected by the backlog? How are you coping?
Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx