Applications received on or before Friday 25th September have now all been reviewed and returned under query or moved forward for the final check and approval/rejection. Because of the volume, this approval process may take longer than normal, but we should be able to write to you within a week.
Applications received Monday 28th – today, Wednesday 30th September have all been logged and will be assessed in due course. As previously posted, today is the final deadline to be considered for payments backdated to the start of term for those young people who are applying under the current scheme and are aged 16 or over on or before 30th Sep.
Applications are now being assessed/reassessed within 4 weeks of receipt and either moved forward for the final check/approval stage or returned to you for further information. All received by 30th September will be logged as such and eligibility to be considered for payment backdated to the start of term will remain where applicable.
We will also be undertaking additional work to introduce the in-year changes as recently announced by the Scottish Government and every effort will be made to do so without delaying the processing of existing applications further.
We regret that we can’t give individuals a specific timescale or date by which you will hear from us but all continue to be handled as a priority and in order of receipt.
Apologies for the delay to this post – the next fortnightly payment run is complete and due to reach accounts tomorrow. This includes payment for weeks ended 11th & 18th September.
As before, if you have a query about the amount received please contact your school or Activity Agreement worker. Again as a reminder, for Data Protection reasons any enquiries about your EMA must be made by you and not your parent/carer.
In the last of our posts today, a first reminder that applications from young people aged 16 or over on or before 30th September must be received by 30th September in order to be considered for payment backdated to the start of term. Applications submitted after this date can be paid only from the week in which we first receive it. If you’re still waiting on supporting evidence please consider sending us your application now, with whatever information you do have available.
This eligibility for backdated payments does not apply to young people aged 16 between 1 Oct and 29th Feb or to those applying under the recently announced increased income thresholds (see previous post). Payment for both of these can only be considered from January.
We regret to advise that EMA cover will be limited to 9-3:30 Tue 8th & Wed 9th Sep only (Public Holiday Monday) and 9-3:30 Mon 14th -Wed 16th September only.
We continue to experience a high volume of applications and are working through these in order of receipt and as quickly as we can. All applications received by Friday 28th August have been assessed and either moved forward for approval or returned under query. Those received after this date will continue to be logged and assessed, subject to the above limited service with a likely review timescale of 28 working days.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Scottish Government recently announced mid-year changes to the EMA programme. The first is that income thresholds (2014/15 taxable income) are to increase from 1st January to £24421 for families with one dependent child and £26884 for families with more than one dependent child. All applicants aged 16 or over on or before 29th February can apply under these new thresholds from October but payment under these new thresholds can only begin from the start of the January 2016 term (subject to usual application submission deadlines).
We will be reviewing all who had previously applied under the previous thresholds of £20321/ £22403 and were refused because the income was too high. We will contact those who could now benefit from the higher threshold in due course.
If you are aged 16 or over on or before 30th September and are applying under the higher threshold, you can only be paid from January ’16. If your household income was within the previous lower thresholds, you will still be eligible for payment from the start of the August term (for applications received by 30th September) or from the week in which we first received your application (applications received between 1st Oct ’15 & 31st March ’16).
The Scottish Government announcement about this increase can be found here. We will arrange for applications and guidance to be updated in due course.
The second change advised by Scottish Government affects applications for awards made on a provisional (temporary) basis and the possible recovery of any/all EMA payments made. We are awaiting further guidance from Scottish Government on this matter and will advise further once we know more. If you are affected by this change we will write to you.
As you will appreciate, these changes will take time to be fully updated in our publicity items, application paperwork and other correspondence. We will endeavour to do so as soon as possible while we continue to log and assess applications currently being received.
The next fortnightly payment run is complete and due to reach accounts on Friday 28th August. This includes:
- payment for week ended 21st August for those at school aged 16 or over by 30th Sep ’15 and whose approved Learning Agreement has been received and updated by school,
- payment for fortnight ended 21st August for those undertaking an Activity Agreement
- the final catch-up backdated payment for the very few young people who submitted a claim for genuine medical absence during the last week(s) of the 14/15 June term.
Please note that generally applications approved in any one week will not be through the final stages of the EMA process in time to meet the Monday payment deadline. Learning Agreements can still be submitted to school and will be updated by them once the record is available to do so, with authorised payments expected to pick up in the next available timetabled run.
There are an increasing number of applications being received without a large stamped addressed envelope in which we can return original documents. Please ensure you comply with EMA guidance and provide a SAE each time you send us original documents to support your EMA.
Alternatively please visit any main Falkirk Council One Stop where your documents can be photocopied while you wait and originals returned immediately. These certified copies will then be sent on to us with the application form.
As previously posted, there will be one final payment released on Monday 24th August for any pupils returning to school who had EMA during the 14/15 session and who had payment withheld for the last week of the June term due to genuine sickness absence. Subject to normal absence terms and conditions, this can be considered only where a self cert or parental letter is held by your school EMA Admin/Clerical staff by Friday 21st August at the latest.
All 14/15 administration will be closed after 24th August after which time it will not be possible to claim for any weeks of that previous session.
We understand the central helpline for DWP detailed in our guidance document, although correct at time of print, is now no longer valid. Unfortunately DWP have been unable to provide us with an alternative centralised number so if you need to check addresses or other information related to benefit income, in the first instance please check any previous correspondence from DWP for contact details. A local DWP benefit office may also be confirm relevant contacts.