1. Table of contents


When should I submit an application form?

If you are aged 16 on or before 30th September, in order to get payments from the start of term, we'll need to receive your application by 30th September. If you don't apply until later, you'll only be paid from the date we receive your application.

If your 16th birthday is between 1st October and 28th February, you can get payments from the start of term in January. We'll need to receive your application by 28th February.

If we receive your application between 1st March and 31st March, you'll only be paid from the date we receive your application.

The cut off for applications for each school year is 31st March.

Please Note: If you are working under an Activity Agreement, this is different. Contact us for further information.

What happens once I have submitted my application?

Once you have successfully submitted your application you should receive a confirmation email with your unique reference number. If you do not receive this email, please contact us.

The team will then assess each application based on the information held and any supporting evidence you have submitted. This may take up to 6 weeks from the date we receive your application during peak times. Once we have assessed your application we will notify you of the outcome, or if necessary, contact you to request additional information or evidence.

Make sure you regularly check your emails. All notifications regarding your application will be issued by email where possible.

What if I am unable to provide all the information required?

You should submit your application even if you don't have all the information the application form states you need. The date that we receive your form can make a huge difference to the date we can pay you from (i.e. you miss the 30 September or 28 February deadlines).

If you still need to provide further evidence to support your application you can upload documents at any time via our online postbox. Alternatively, you can hand your evidence in to your nearest Advice and Support Hub.

What is a Learning Agreement?

A Learning Choices Agreement (LA) is like a contract between you and your school/activity agreement worker. It shows what you intend to study and the level to which you will work. The conditions of entitlement also cover the aims and standards of conduct - uniform policy for example, and the need to meet all elements of your study programme, such as handing in work on time. You must satisfy these conditions in order to receive payments.

You will need to complete the Learning Agreement and agree to the conditions of entitlement as part of your online application form, and we will pass this on to your school if/when your application has been approved.

What period does the application cover?

For school pupils, an EMA session ends in line with the summer term in June. However, if you are in S6, you can only be paid until the end of the exam period, which is usually in May.

If you are returning to school the following year, you'll need to re-apply. You can usually apply for EMA from June.

What if I change my address or my bank account?

If you change your address, bank account, or email address you need to let us know as soon as you can, otherwise you might not receive payments, or we might send important information about your payments to the wrong address.

Change forms are available to download from the EMA page. Please complete these and return to the EMA Assessments Team as soon as possible.

Can I apply if there is another young person in my family who gets EMA?

Yes, if there is another young person in the household you may both be able to get EMA.

This will depend on your household circumstances. A higher income threshold applies where there is more than one young person in full time education.

Visit the EMA Scotland website for more information on the thresholds.

Does EMA affect my other benefits?

No, EMA doesn’t affect the amount paid in household benefits. If you are an independent student and you get state benefits such as Income Support, you may be asked to declare your EMA income to DWP, but it shouldn’t change the amount of benefit you get.


How is EMA paid?

EMA is usually paid directly into your bank account. If you don't have a bank account, you'll need to open one which can accept BACS payments. We won't usually pay to someone else's account.

We can't pay to accounts which need a roll or reference number (i.e. building society accounts). Please check with your bank or building society if you are not sure if your account needs this.

When will I be paid?

Payments are made fortnightly in arrears.

Please check the Payment timetable for payment dates.

There may be occasional changes to payment dates depending on bank holidays etc.

Will I be paid for school holidays?

No - You will only be paid for weeks in which the school is open for at least 3 days, so you will not be paid for holiday weeks. In-service days or emergency closures (due to bad weather etc.) are not considered holidays for EMA purposes, and payment can be still made as long as your attendance is 100% for the rest of that week.

Will I be paid for study leave?

You can still be paid during official study leave but you must make sure that you’re not off school out-with these dates – for example if study leave starts on a Wednesday and ends on a Thursday, you must be at school for the Monday, Tuesday before and the Friday after. You must also go to your exams. If you have a history of absence before a period of study leave, it is at your school’s discretion to decide if you qualify for payments for these weeks.

Does my performance at school affect my entitlement?

Your school decides if your EMA will be paid for each week. If your attendance isn't satisfactory, no payment will be made for that week unless your absence has been covered by a self-certification form or has been approved by your school. Make sure you keep your school updated on any absences.

Lateness can also affect payments, as can progress and conduct – ie you may not receive payments if you don't meet the conditions of entitlement you agreed to with your Learning Agreement – including submission of home or course work.

My payment is wrong – who do I contact?

If you've not received a payment or you have received less than you were expecting, you should contact your school in the first instance. They will be able to tell you which weeks you have or have not been approved for and the reasons why. You must make sure that your school is properly notified of any and all absences.

If the school cannot resolve the issue you can contact the EMA Assessment Team for further assistance.


What should I do if I’m absent?

If you are absent for any reason you must notify your school/activity agreement worker as soon as possible with the reasons why. This must usually be submitted in writing.

You can do this by fully completing and signing the self certification form. Otherwise you can submit a parental letter explaining the reason for your absence. You should do this within the first 3 days of going back to school/activity agreement programme.

Will I be paid if I’m absent?

You can use a self-certification form or parental letter for up to 5 days' sickness absence between August and December and again between January and June.

If there seems to be a pattern of absence, your school/activity agreement worker can ask you for more information before deciding whether to pay your EMA. If your school/activity agreement worker does not believe your sickness absence was genuine they can withhold your payment.

More information regarding absences can be found in the EMA Handbook.

What if I disagree with a decision made regarding my attendance?

If your school/activity agreement worker has decided not to pay you for any reason and you disagree with that decision, you must first contact them to resolve this. They may need more information from you, such as a doctor's letter, before they can agree to pay you.

If the issue has not been resolved and you have shared all relevant information with them, you may be able to appeal.

More information regarding absences can be found in the EMA Handbook.

Moving on

Leaving School?

You'll no longer receive weekly EMA payments from the date of your last full week of attendance.

Your school will inform us of your leaving date, and your record will be cancelled. If you are in S6, you'll only be paid until the end of the exam period.

Moving on to Higher Education?

Other forms of financial support may be available for Higher Education at University or College. 

Further information is available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland if your home address is in Scotland.

Student Finance Direct may also be of interest if you intend to study or have your usual home address in England. 

Moving on to the community/voluntary Activity Agreement scheme?

You may be eligible to re-apply for EMA. Please check with your Advisor. 

Moving to Further Education in College?

You may be eligible to receive a bursary from the college. Contact them directly for further information about financial support.