The MAT B1 form is one of those things you didn’t know you needed – until you suddenly need it. It’s a key piece of paper to make sure you have – all filled in and signed by a doctor or midwife – in order to claim maternity pay and benefits. Here’s our guide to what it’s all about, how and when you can get it – and what exactly it entitles you to…
What is the MATB1 form?
Also known as the Maternity Certificate, the MATB1 form is the official paperwork that verifies your pregnancy and the estimated due date of your baby. You’ll need it, whether you’re unemployed, employed, self-employed, working full-time or working part-time, in order to claim either of the following:
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from your employer
- Maternity Allowance (MA) from Jobcentre Plus
You may also be asked to show your MATB1 form to get priority seats on trains or even free prescriptions and free dental treatment – although the Maternity Exemption Certificate is a better choice for claiming free prescription and free dental treatment as, unlike the MATB1 form (see When do I get it? below), you can apply for this as soon as you’re pregnant.
When do I get my MATB1 form?
You’re eligible to get your MATB1 once you are 20 weeks into your pregnancy. The official rules are that the form cannot be issued more than 20 weeks before the estimated week of your baby’s birth.
Where do I get the MATB1 form?
Your midwife or doctor should give you the form when you reach 20 weeks, usually at a routine antenatal appointment you have at or just after. They have to complete the form with your details and sign it – and they cannot give the form to you before you’re 20 weeks’ pregnant, as we’ve explained above.
We do know though, from lots of women’s posts on our MadeForMums forum, that you sometimes need to prompt your midwife or doctor to provide the form once you’ve reached 20 weeks.
If you don’t have a routine antenatal appointment due around this time, you could try phoning and asking for one to be sent to you. One member of our forum who posts as girlinleeds had no problem with this approach, saying: “I phoned my midwife and explained, and she just left it for me to collect at my GP surgery.”
Is there a fee?
No, this is a free service.
What do I do with it once I’ve got it?
The first thing to do is to make a copy – or several copies (keep at least one for yourself). Then you can give the form to your employer – or employers, if you have more than 1 job.
Do I have to give it to my employer by a certain date?
Yes. The current rules state that, in order to claim SMP, you must tell your employer at least 28 days before you wish your SMP to start and you must provide proof that you are pregnant. The MATB1 form is the required proof that you’re pregnant – and this must be provided within 21 days of your SMP start date.
Your employer must confirm within 28 days how much SMP you’ll get and when it will start and stop. If your employer decides you’re not eligible for SMP, they must give you a SMP1 form within 7 days of making their decision – and explain why. If you think your employer’s decision is wrong, you can call the Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Statutory Payments Disputes Team on 0300 322 9422, and you’ll need to have the SMP1 form ready when you do so.
It’s worth noting at this point that, if you’re also entitled to claim maternity leave from your employer, you’ll need to request that, probably in writing, much earlier – at least 15 weeks before your due date. When you do this, you’ll need to state when you wish your leave to start and when your baby is due. Although you’re not required to produce your MATB1 form when you request maternity leave, in practice, many women find it simpler to request both maternity leave and SMP at the same time – see our template letter – and give in their MATB1 form at this earlier date.
What if I lose my MATB1 form?
You can ask your midwife or doctor for a duplicate form but there may then be some delay before you get it. To avoid this happening and potentially risking being late to apply for SMP, make at least 1 copy of your MATB1 form when you first get it, and keep that copy somewhere safe.
Does everyone qualify for SMP?
No. SMP is only available if:
- You’ve been working for your employer continually for at least the 26 weeks leading up to the 15th week before your due date
- You’re earning on average at least £120 a week gross (before tax). If you usually earn £120 a week or more but have been earning less because you’ve been on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you may still be eligible.
- You give the correct notice period (at least 28 days before you wish your SMP to start)
- You can provide proof you’re pregnant (the MATB1 form)
What if I don’t qualify for SMP?
You may be eligible for Maternity Allowance. This is a benefit paid by Jobcentre Plus to pregnant women who are self-employed, recently employed or cannot get SMP. To apply for it, you’ll need to be 26 weeks pregnant and you’ll need to fill in a MA1 claim form – you can either fill it in online or print it out then fill it in. Either way, you’ll need to print it out and send it to the address on the form.
How long can I claim maternity pay for?
Both SMP and MA are paid for up to 39 weeks. You can ask to start your payments from as early as 11 weeks before your due date.
Last updated: July 26 2021