Apply for or renew an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Last updated: 31 March 2020

When the payment is made

Providing that you have 100% of agreed weekly attendance at school or college, the EMA payment will be made into your own bank account. It's usually paid in arrears.

Payments are made on a fortnightly basis in arrears and the payment start date depends on the date of your 16th birthday.

Your education provider will be able to provide details of payment dates.

Your council or college may stop EMA payments if you don't follow your learning agreement.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) may stop you meeting your agreed attendance requirements if:

  • you are self-isolating
  • you have the virus
  • your learning institution closes

Absence for these reasons will not stop your EMA payment.

Back dating

The date your application is received has an impact on your eligibility to receive a back dated payment.

Up to 30 September

For students applying under school autumn intake (August) applications received up to and including 30 September are eligible for back-payment to the beginning of the term (provided that the weekly attendance criteria has been met).

1 October onwards

Applications received from 1 October onwards are eligible for back-payment from the Monday of the week in which the original application was received (provided that the course has started and the weekly attendance criteria has been met).


Winter intake (January) applications, received on or by the last day in February may be eligible for back payment to the start of the term.

Activity agreements

Young people on Activity Agreements can have their EMA payments back dated to the day of first engagement in the relevant activity within the current financial year.

Contact your EMA team

Contact your local council's EMA team for more information on your EMA payments: