Maternity Action briefing: Universal Credit – When is maternity pay not maternity pay

A single woman with a new baby on Maternity Allowance (MA) can be as much as £460 per month worse off than a woman in the same circumstances on Universal Credit and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

This is according to the March 2020 report from Maternity Action on the different treatment of SMP and Maternity Allowance in the calculation of Universal Credit awards, which in our view unfairly penalises women on Maternity Allowance.

The report finds:

  • Under the Universal Credit Regulations, MA is treated as ‘unearned income’, so is deducted from any Universal Credit award pound for pound.
  • By definition, the some 60,000 women granted MA each year are relatively low income, so many stand to lose out from this anomaly in the Universal Credit Regulations

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