True or false:
Spouses/civil partners who accompany their Service partner on an overseas posting/assignment are unable to claim Maternity Allowance (MA) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they are not living in the UK.
Although spouses/civil partners cannot claim MA when overseas, they do have other options (this depends on where they are posted to) including:
- Claim the local nation’s maternity benefits.
- Where a reciprocal agreement is in place.
- Apply for a Ministry of Defence (MOD) ex-gratia payment in lieu of MA.
- Where no reciprocal agreement is in place; and
- Must otherwise be entitled to receive MA had they remained in the UK.
In 2012, the MOD ex-gratia payment in lieu of MA was introduced for spouses and civil partners who would have otherwise been entitled to receive the benefit had they remained in the UK.
It means your serving person can claim maternity allowance from the MOD on your behalf if you are posted outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and where there is no reciprocal benefit agreement.
The UK has special arrangements with certain other countries that may help you to get MA if you are going abroad or if you have recently been abroad and returned to the UK.
Process for Claiming MA
- Apply for MA in the normal manner using the Maternity Allowance claim form (MA1 05/18, see below).
- Ensure in Part 8 you tick the box marked ‘a member of a service family abroad’.
- When completed, send the form to the International Pension Centre at the address show in Part 13.
There are certain deadlines for claiming maternity benefits from a local nation, so please ensure that you apply promptly and seek advice from the IPC team (see below) if you are unsure of the process or time frames. Remember to tell them that you are part of an Armed Forces family.
What is the International Pension Centre?
The International Pension Centre (IPC), based in Wolverhampton, provides advice and information about pensions and benefits if you live abroad or have lived abroad.
References & Useful Links
- UK Government:
- Maternity Allowance Claim Form (MA1 05/18): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maternity-allowance-claim-form.
- International Pension Centre (IPC): https://www.gov.uk/international-pension-centre.
- Armed Forces access to Jobcentre Plus services and Armed Forces Champions: Guidance.
- Last updated on 04 May 2016 (states “section 7” instead of Part 8).
- Found towards the bottom of the page.
- Defence Instructions & Notices (DIN):
- 2018DIN01-026: MOD Ex-Gratia Payments in Lieu of Maternity Allowance.
- Joint Service Publication (JSP):
- JSP 752: Tri-service regulations for expenses and allowances.
- Refer to Chapter 9, Section 14.
- Version 39 (updated July 2019).
- MOD Benefits Website: https://discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk/army/army-health-welfare/health-and-welfare-mod-ex-gratia-payment-in-lieu-of-maternity-allowance.