To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average time taken to process a claim for the education maintenance allowance was in the most recent period for which figures are available.
This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and hold information about applications made under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the LSC's Chief Executive has written to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
Letter from Mark Haysom, dated
I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Questions that asked:- what the average time taken to process a claim for tie education maintenance allowance was in the most recent period for which figures are available.
Due to the difficulties we are currently experiencing with EMA processing, it is difficult to be precise about the average time taken to process an application. We are seeking to improve it all the time.
Each year a substantial minority of applications are received with information missing. In these cases, they will have to be sent back to the applicant who is asked to provide the information and return it to us. We can only continue processing that application once it is sent back to us.
In all cases where an application is initially received before the end of October and an applicant is eligible for EMA all payments will be backdated and no one will miss out for EMA that they are entitled to.