Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
As per Scottish Government guidelines, Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will still be paid while the schools are closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please see FAQs (pdf 119KB) for more information.
An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an allowance of £30 per week, which can be paid to eligible students who stay on in education after the age of 16 years. Your EMA is paid every 2 weeks during school term time and it is not paid during the holidays.
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You can apply for an EMA if you are a student staying in education after the age of 16 years. If you are:
- 16 years of age or over before 30th September 2019, you may be eligible for an EMA from the beginning of the August school term
- 16 years of age after the 1st October 2019 and before 29th February 2020, you may be eligible for an EMA from January 2020
To be paid an EMA by the council you need a bank account in your own name and attend an Aberdeenshire school. Students must be ordinarily resident in the UK. Generally this relates to the qualifying date and the 3 years immediately before. Young people on the New Deal education option or on any government supported training schemes are not eligible for EMAs.
The household income assessment for EMA purposes is the same as that used for assessing Tax Credits.
You are eligible for an EMA if:
- your household total gross income is less than £24,421, with one dependent child
- your household total gross income is less than £26,884 a year, with more than one dependent child
- you are attending a full-time non-advanced course
- you are a student who is Independent
You need to attach supporting documents to your application as evidence of your household income.
You can no longer complete the application forms for 2019/20 as this session is now closed. Our application forms for 2020/21 will be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak and will be ready in due course.
You also need to include evidence of your household income. We accept the following documentation:
- if you are in employment a P60 for year ending April 2019 will be suitable or a payslip 12 showing the final pay to date
- if you are on any benefits please provide us with letters or certificates from them
- if you have a Tax Credit form (TCAN) from HMRC which shows your actual income for 2018/19 this will be sufficient
- if you are a lone parent household we will require proof of this, provide us with the Council Tax Bill showing the 25% reduction or a TCAN showing lone parent is on this
- if you do not receive the 25% reduction due to an older sibling living in the house, please provide us with their birth certificate and any current paperwork to show they live at this address (we do not use their income)
- if you are self-employed, please provide us with an SA103S or SA103F or end of year
final tax assessment certificate, or if you have a current Tax Credit form showing actual
income (not estimated) for 2018/19
- if you are in receipt of any pensions please provide paperwork
- if you are an independent student living on your own we require proof of situation either from the school or a social worker, also provide us with any benefits letters you receive in your own right, such as Housing or ESA
- if you are in foster care, kinship care, local authority care or a looked after child, we will require a letter from your social worker to inform us of your situation and we do not use the household income
- if there has been a significant change in financial circumstances from one year to the next, please provide us with previous income and as much information about current situation so we can assess a projected income for the future (a provisional payment could be paid and further assessments made during the year)
You can return these to the EMA Team.
Payment of your EMA can be withheld if your school attendance falls below 100% in any one week. Lateness can also affect payments. If learning agreement conditions are not met, then your EMA may also be withheld.
If you have been awarded an EMA award for the full school year, you are entitled to be off sick for up to 5 days without a doctor's line without it affecting your EMA payments. If you have been awarded an EMA award for half the school year, you are entitled to three days' off sick without a doctor's line. You should inform your school immediately you know you are going to be off, and you may need to provide the school with written reason for being off. Any other absences must be covered by a medical certificate or be authorised by the school.
In service and public holidays are counted as term days attended and your EMA will be paid for these days.
If your circumstances change for any reason you must contact us. If there has been a significant change in financial circumstances from one year to the next, please provide us with previous income and as much information regarding current situation so we can assess a projected income for the future. A provisional payment could be paid and further assessments made during the year.
Your entitlement to your EMA will not be affected if you move school, provided that you renew your EMA learning agreement with your new school. If you haven't received your EMA, you should, in the first instance, check with the school to see that your attendance has been appropriately updated.