The final payment run for this year is complete and due to reach accounts on Tuesday 29th December (delayed due to bank holidays). This includes attendance in week ended 18th December only.
As timetabled, there will be no payment due for EMA applicants on either of the 2 day weeks ended 25th December & 8th January as they don’t meet Scottish Government criteria for payable weeks.
EMA team will be unavailable from tonight 23rd December and over the Christmas/New Year period. General information can continue to be found here or on the EMA page of the Falkirk Council website. If you need to know more, please contact us from 5th January.
We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. See you in 2016!
We’ve had a few queries about non-receipt of remittance slips which are normally received by post the day before payments are due in accounts. We’re checking this out further but for now, it does appear that it is only the mailing which is affected, and not your actual payments.
We’ll post an update here once we know more.
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.
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.
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.
We would like to wish everyone all the best for the SQA results, due tomorrow, Tuesday 4th August. If you need help or advice with any aspect of your SQA exam results please contact your school or the SQA .
We’re happy to help applicants or parent/carers/advisors with any aspect of EMA, including completion of the application form or general absence procedures. Unfortunately, we don’t always have access to facilities where we can speak to you confidentially and won’t usually be able to have a member of the team available at short notice. However, most general queries can usually be quickly answered by phone or found within the information on the EMA page of the main Falkirk Council website.
As mentioned in our previous post, deaf service users can now have any enquiries about Council services dealt with on the spot by a member of the Customer First Team thanks to the introduction of Sign Language Live. Customer First Team can help with your EMA by photocopying original documents as you wait and thereafter sending all through to us for assessment. They are also involved in the receipt and processing of Clothing Grant / Free School Meals applications. If Sign Language Live could be of help to you or your parents/carers, please see the main press release (click here) or speak to a member of Customer First Staff at any of the seven One Stop Shops. Falkirk Council can also provide communication services for deaf-blind people free of charge.
On the Falkirk Council website, our EMA page can be read aloud to you by using the Narration option on your PC or tablet’s operating system. Alternatively, BrowseAloud is a free downloadable software which reads webpages aloud for anyone who finds it difficult to read online. If this would be helpful, further info can be found on: http://www.browsealoud.com.
If English is not your first language and you’d like some help with translation, you may find the free Google Translate service of use – just click the icon towards the top right of this page and select your preferred language. This service can also be used for our EMA page on the Falkirk Council website in 4 easy steps:
- visit Google Translate (press your ”Ctrl” button & click here)
- select your language
- copy and paste the website address (URL) www.falkirk.gov.uk/ema
- click “translate”
If we can be of any other help, or if there’s additional support you’d like us to try and provide, please contact us.
The next fortnightly payment run is complete and due to reach accounts on Friday 19 June. This includes payment for attendance in weeks ended 5th & 12th June. As usual, if you have a query about payment/non-payment please contact your schools/Activity Agreement worker in the first instance
“Less waiting, less stress…” If you’d like to receive your 2015 exam results by email and/or text, sign up soon for MY SQA. For more info or to sign up, click here.
We’ve heard from a couple of parents that HMRC Tax Credits have asked for confirmation of EMA entitlement and/or payment awarded to their child. We are unaware of the reason for this request; EMA is awarded to the child, not the parent, with the payments made to the child’s bank account. EMA has no relation to DWP or Tax Credits and especially when those benefits are to the parent.
We understand requests so far may span a number of financial years and affect a number of Local Authorities. Scottish Government have contacted HMRC for clarification and will provide advice to Local Authorities in due course. We will also need to ensure the request complies with Data Protection rules.
Please note that until we receive this further guidance, we will not be able to respond to requests for such information – we do try to help wherever possible but must ensure we’re complying with Data Protection rules which are there to protect your information as our EMA applicant. We understand that EMA proof is only one of a number of options detailed on the HMRC letter; one alternative being a letter from the school confirming enrolment. If that is needed, please contact your school in the first instance.