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Maternity allowance

(6 Posts)
happyhopefulmummy Thu 20-Sep-12 13:38:59

I was wondering if someone can help me. I have worked since graduating uni 6 years ago, I had a baby and have not gone back to my old job. I am starting doing some basic admin work at minimum wage for 5-8 hours a week, as a self-employed person. I will earn less than the £5000 limit of having to pay NI contributions. However, if I want to have another baby in the next year, I would like to claim maternity allowance. If I pay the £2.65 NI contributions a week by choice (even though my earnings mean I wouldn't have to), will I then be entitled to claim MA?

I have also heard (not sure if it's true) that by receiving child benefit this contributes towards your NI contributions. Is this true?

Thanks

HaplessHousewife Thu 20-Sep-12 18:24:10

I'm not sure about the child benefit but I was registered self employed so got MA for my first DC (I pay twice a year but I think it works out about £2.65 a week). I didn't work at all in between DC but I carried on paying my NI and I got MA again for DC2.

I rang them three times and checked whether it mattered that I hadn't worked and they all said that as I'd paid my NI contributions (I think it's Class 2 I pay) I qualified for MA. So it was definitely worth paying the £100 odd pounds even though I didn't need to, to get £4500 of MA!

I would ring and explain your circumstances, I think this is the number 0845 608 8610 (if not you may have to ring Jobcentre Plus and try and get through to the right people. I always found them helpful and the ones I spoke to seemed to know what they were talking about. HTH

MrAnchovy Thu 20-Sep-12 21:50:51

"If I pay the £2.65 NI contributions a week by choice (even though my earnings mean I wouldn't have to), will I then be entitled to claim MA?"

Yes. If you already hold a Certificate of Small Earnings Exception, write to HMRC and tell them your earnings have increased. HMRC used to be very coy about this and so I wrote an article about it (google "mranchovy class 2"), but they are much more open about it now e.g. from the application form for exemption:

"Class 2 NICs count towards:
• Employment and Support Allowance
• basic State Pension
• bereavement benefits
• Maternity Allowance.
If you are only liable for Class 2 NICs, you should consider your
position carefully before applying for a Certificate of SEE.
If you do not pay Class 2 NICs because you apply for and
receive a Certificate of SEE, you may lose your entitlement
to the benefits."

"I have also heard (not sure if it's true) that by receiving child benefit this contributes towards your NI contributions. Is this true?"

No. It contributes qualifying years towards the basic state pension but not towards the other 3 items mentioned above.

happyhopefulmummy Fri 21-Sep-12 16:05:54

Thankyou so much. The reason I was so confused is because I thought paying £2.60 a week ni may give me MA but only the equivalent of what you earn a week. So, if you only earn £50 a week, MA could be £120 a week, but it's not going to pay you more than what you earn.

Sorry if I'm not making sense. Mranchovy...I will google that article.

MrAnchovy Fri 21-Sep-12 16:38:27

No, I can understand your confusion. The problem is that you can qualify for MA either as a self-employed person or an employee (if you cannot get SMP). If you are an employee, the amount you get does depend on your earnings but if you are self employed it doesn't, partly because if you are just starting up and have large initial costs for instance you might actually be making a loss.

happyhopefulmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 13:59:28

I don't know whether this is helpful for anyone else, but I've just rung up and been told that as long as you have paid Class 2 NI contributions for 13 weeks out of the last 66, then you can claim MA.

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