Case study

  • Date:
    September 2022
  • Category:
    Meeting the need


C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision. They had applied for a crisis grant, stating that their ex-partner had stolen £350 from them during an incident in which C was also assaulted.

The council declined the initial application on the basis that C had not provided a bank statement or police reference number for the incident. C requested a first tier review of the decision, and the council awarded the applicant the amount the guidance suggests for a single householder. They did not award an amount for their child as they said they were over 16 and C no longer received child benefit for them.

We reviewed the council’s case file and spoke with C for further information. We noted that they provided us with inconsistent information about what had happened to the remainder of their benefits income, and about the benefits they receive. We also took into account that the police reference number was in relation to lost money as opposed to a theft and had been submitted after it had been requested by the council. Finally, we reviewed C's application history and noted four previous applications for losing large sums of money in the last 12 months, all of which were within two days of receiving their monthly benefit payment. Taking all of the above information into account, we were not satisfied that the circumstances presented during the application process were true in line with section 4.21 of the guidance. As we deemed an award should not have been made, we did not uphold C's review request. We did, however, provide feedback to the council about the award calculation as C's child was disabled and in full time non-advanced education. They continued to be part of C's Universal Credit claim and, therefore, should have been treated as a dependent for the purposes of an award. We also provided feedback about the council's decision letters not containing sufficient information to understand the reasons for the decision.

Updated: September 16, 2022