Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Free School Meals and Clothing Grants

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

We are making it easier to apply for Free School Meals and Clothing Grants.  If you were eligible for Free School Meals in the 2015/16 school year, we will be contacting your parent/carers from 16th May 2016 to check if they want to apply again for next year.  If they haven’t heard from us by 13th June please have them contact the assessment team on 01324 503850. Remember, they need to apply each year.

If your parent/carer is applying for the first time, they can download an application form from the Falkirk Council website from next week or pick one up from most One Stop Shops.

Please return all application forms as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Meals can only be provided from the date the application is approved and entitlement cannot be back dated.  Clothing grants are not payable for young people aged 16 or over on or before 30th September 2016 so if this applies to you, you should apply for EMA in your own name – applications for 2016/17 EMA should be available in June.

Parent/carers can get help to fill out their form from any of the offices listed on the application form. General advice is also available by calling 01324 590599.

Deadlines Approaching!

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

alarmclock04EMA entitlement which was confirmed on a provisional (temporary) basis only now need to be reviewed.  Applications which can’t be reassessed by 5th February will be suspended.  Reminder letters have been sent; if you are in receipt of a provisional EMA please ensure the information required is sent as soon as possible.

Applications both from young people aged 16 between 1st October 2015 and 29th February 2016 or anyone applying under the new higher threshold scheme must be received by 29th February to be considered for payment backdated to the start of term.  If you’re thinking of applying please send us your application as soon as possible, even if incomplete.  We can then register, check and send it back awaiting the outstanding information.

A final reminder also that following the Christmas/New Year break and a 2-day return week, the next payment will be due to reach accounts on Friday 29th January.

 

Payment Due

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

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!

xmas_7

Payment Run Remittance Slips

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Red_mailbox_2We’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.

Fortnightly Payment Due

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

piggybankApologies 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.

 

EMA 15/16 is changing

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

news_41Scottish 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.

EMA Proof of Benefit Income – DWP helpline

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

phoneWe 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.

SQA Results

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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 .

Need help with your EMA?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

MB900422532We’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:

  1. visit Google Translate (press your ”Ctrl” button & click here)
  2. select your language
  3. copy and paste the website address (URL) www.falkirk.gov.uk/ema
  4. 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.

2014/15 Fortnightly Payment Due

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

piggybankThe 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