SMP for Self-Employed

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Congratulations you are having a baby, enjoy it, savour it but most importantly make sure you know how to get paid whilst you are unable to work if you are self-employed.  This raises a very simple question; can I claim SMP when self-employed?  Being financially secure when you are having a baby takes a huge strain out of what is a very stressful time.

Can you claim SMP when self-employed?

In short you are not entitled to claim SMP when self-employed but you may be entitled to claim a Maternity Allowance through Jobcentre Plus.  SMP is an amount of money claimed from your employer.  If you are not employed then you cannot claim SMP if you are self-employed.

Eligibility for Maternity Allowance if self-employed

For the self-employed you need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for Maternity Allowance:

  • you’re registered self-employed and paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs), or hold a Small Earnings Exception certificate
  • you’ve been employed and/or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in your ‘test period’ (66 weeks up to and including the week before the week your baby is due) – part weeks count as full weeks

Earnings from your employment and earnings you are treated as having if you are self-employed are used to work out your Maternity Allowance.  Check out A guide to Maternity Benefits NI17A for full details.

The current rate of Maternity Allowance is £128.73 per standard week or 90% of your average weekly gross earnings (before tax) and is paid for a maximum of 39 weeks.  You can make an election to have it paid every two or four weeks directly into your bank or building society account.

The amount of Maternity Allowance you get depends on your gross average weekly earnings or the amount you are treated as earning from your self-employment.

Making a claim for Maternity Allowance if you are self-employed

You can claim MA as soon as you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks. To get a claim form (form MA1) call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.  Alternatively complete the online form.

You’ll also need to give medical evidence of the date when your baby is due. This form is normally on the maternity certificate, form MATB1. This is given to you by your doctor or midwife no earlier than 20 weeks before the week your baby is due.

HM Revenue & Customs will be asked to confirm your payments for Class 2 NICs are up to date.

If you continue to be self-employed into the 11 weeks before the week your baby is due, you can choose when to start getting Maternity Allowance. The date you choose will match the date that you start your maternity leave from work.

Tax return completion if claiming Maternity Allowance when self-employed

The good news here is that if you are claiming Maternity Allowance it is non-taxable and therefore does not need to be inlcuded on your tax return.  If you are claiming SMP from an employer then you would need to declare it on you tax return.  Want to double check?  Here is the link for taxable and non-taxable benefits.

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