What is Maternity Benefit?
Maternity Benefit is a cash benefit payable to a woman who has given birth to a child. Maternity Benefit can be an allowance, a grant, or both.

What is Maternity Allowance?
Maternity Allowance is a weekly benefit payable to an insured woman who has given birth to a living child or to a dead child if the term of pregnancy was not less than 28 weeks.

For how long is Maternity Allowance paid?
Maternity Allowance is paid for a maximum of 13 weeks, commencing as early as 6 weeks before confinement or as late as the week of confinement.

How is Maternity Allowance calculated?
Maternity Allowance constitutes 60% of the insured person’s average insurable weekly earnings. The average insurable weekly earnings is calculated by totalling the earnings (up to the Social Security ceiling of $6,500) in the 52 weeks immediately preceding the 6-week period before the expected date of delivery. This figure is then divided by the number of weeks worked, which cannot be less than 26.

When and how is Maternity Allowance paid?
Maternity Allowance is paid weekly. The cheque may be mailed to the claimant’s address, be collected at the Social Security Office, be paid to a bank account or be paid to a person whom the claimant has nominated.

Who is entitled to Maternity Grant?
Maternity Grant is a one-time payment, payable to a woman if she or her husband has paid 26 weekly contributions since entering the scheme and has paid 26 weekly contributions in the year immediately before the confinement.

How should a claim for Maternity Benefit be made?
At the time of maternity leave, a three-part application form must be completed and submitted to the Social Security Office. Section A of the form must be completed by a doctor or midwife who is registered in Antigua & Barbuda; Section B must be completed by the claimant; and Section C must be completed by the employer.

After confinement, a two-part Certificate of Confinement must be completed and signed by the doctor or nurse who assisted at confinement, as well as by the claimant, then submitted to the Social Security Office.

In the case of a husband who is claiming maternity grant for his wife, only the Certificate of Confinement is required.

If confinement occurs overseas the original birth certificate of the child must be submitted to the social security office

Application forms are available in the doctor’s office or at the Social Security Office.

Maternity Allowance is not payable for any period worked nor for Sundays. Sickness Benefit is not payable for the period commencing six weeks before confinement. Hence, any sick leave granted during that period will be considered as part of the Maternity Allowance period.

A certificate of confinement, giving the exact date of confinement, must be submitted in order for continued payment of maternity allowance.

The application form needs to be dated and signed in the designated areas to avoid delays in claim processing.

A written authorization is required if a cheque must be paid to or collected by someone else. Also, that person must present the claimant’s social security card when collecting the cheque.