Turned down for Maternity Allowance

I have just been refused maternity allowance because I haven’t paid enough National Insurance contributions. Could I pay what I owe and still get maternity allowance?

Woman taking care of her baby


If you have a bill from the NI office you can pay what is outstanding and you will get the full Maternity Allowance.

However, the problem comes if you have claimed for a Small Earnings National Insurance exemption certificate.

Having an Exemption Certificate means that you are waiving your rights to the full MA.

Unless you revoke the Certificate and start paying your Class 2 NI contributions during the qualifying period when you are pregnant you cannot claim the full MA.

You cannot back date your contributions to correct this after the event.

This is a salutory lesson for any mum who is self employed. Always pay your Class 2 NI contributions then when you do your Tax Return claim a refund if you are below the Small Earnings Exemption figure using form CA8480.

Do not apply for an exemption as making this simple mistake can reduce your Maternity Allowance  from  £123.88 a week to £27 a week.


Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    I realised while I was pregnant, that as a self employed mum-to-be I had to cancel my Exemption Certificate (which was actually no longer valid as I was over the earnings threshold for it in my last tax return) I cancelled it and started paying my NICs with 14 weeks to go before my due date. I am about to claim my Maternity Allowance. Will I be eligible for the full MA or will it be reduced? Thanks

    Editor: You need to earn at least £30 a week for 13 weeks from when you cancelled the certificate to the baby's birth or it will be reduced.

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