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We understand the central helpline for DWP detailed in our guidance document, although correct at time of print, is now no longer valid.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.
“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 will shortly begin our preparation for the next EMA session, with the aim of having application forms available from mid-June. As part of this preparation and our ongoing commitment to improvement, we would be happy to consider your views on the application and other processes. If you applied for EMA in this 2014/15 session and have any comments to make on the application form, guidance notes or other processes, please let us know.
Please note that we’re unable to consider comments regarding EMA policy or other regulations which are outwith our control and may not respond directly to your submission.
Happy New Year!
To better streamline our information service to you, the Falkirk EMA Glow Group which only pupils, parents or staff with a Glow password could access, has been withdrawn with immediate effect. Information previously held in this group is still available either through blog posts here or on the main EMA page of the Falkirk Council website, both of which have full public access with no log-ins needed.
We would like to wish everyone all the best for the SQA results, due today. If you need help or advice with any aspect of your SQA exam results please contact your school or the SQA .
A quick reminder as exam season approaches that EMA will continue to be paid over your study leave, providing you adhere to your school’s official study leave dates and, of course, attend your exams.
For advice and help over the study period why not check out the websites below?
BBC Brainsmart – ever wished you could get your brain to work better? Explore how to revise effectively, manage stress & prepare mentally for a big event.
SQA Study Guides are designed to help you prepare for your exams no matter what subject you are studying. Tips and advice on how to achieve the results you want. Also remember to sign up soon at My SQA if you want to receive your results by text or email.
BBC Bitesize – A secondary school revision resource for students featuring written content, interactive content, audio, video and games.
And finally, we wish you all the very best for your exams!
Apologies but there will be limited cover only for EMA enquiries today, Monday 17th March. Please see common queries below – if you don’t find the answer you need, either email us and we’ll pick up asap or call us from tomorrow.
- Payment/non-payment – contact your school or Activity Agreement worker first. Check the payment timetable or your handbook.
- New applications – check the guidance/checklist and send into us as soon as possible, even if incomplete. As already detailed on the application form, in previous posts and publications, the EMA sessions closes to new applicants on 31st March. No new applications can be accepted after that date.
- General info & FAQs – see our main page on the Falkirk Council website or our list of FAQs.