Q. I am due to start my Maternity Leave in two weeks, but my employer has told me that I have not worked there long enough to be paid Statutory Maternity Pay. Is there anything I can claim instead?
A. By the 15th week before your baby is due, you must have worked for your current employer for at least 26 weeks.
If you have not met that criterion, then you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance instead.
You must have been working and earning at least £30 per week in 26 out of the 66 weeks before your baby is due.
Maternity allowance is paid by the DWP and you would need to complete an MA1 form to apply.
Maternity allowance is paid for 39 weeks and is 90% of your average wages – capped at £139.58 per week.
You can apply from 15 weeks before your due date and can be paid from 11 weeks before your due date.
If you don’t meet the criteria for maternity allowance then you may be able to claim Income Support from 11 weeks before your due date if your household income is low enough, or Universal Credit if you live in a full service area.
Advice agencies including ourselves are aware of an increase in overpayment recovery of benefits for pensioners who are or were receiving Guaranteed Pension Credit.
These overpayments are often for large amounts and cover several years.
The reason theses overpayments have arisen is due to a payment of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payments ending, which then means the claimant can no longer have the Severe Disability Premium paid.
If you have been overpaid benefit in such circumstances please seek advice as these overpayments are being challenged.