Case study

  • Date:
    January 2023
  • Category:
    Exceptional circumstances for crisis grants


C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. They applied for a Crisis Grant due to spending their available income on bills and paying back debts which left them without funds for food, gas and electricity.

The council declined the initial application because C had received three awards in the last 12 months. Upon checking C’s application history, the council observed that C had applied under similar circumstances before. As such they declined a further award on the grounds that although there was no fault on the part of C, the circumstances were not exceptional. C requested a first tier review of the decision but the decision was not changed.

We reviewed the council's case file and spoke with C for further information about their circumstances. C confirmed that they were in crisis due to paying debts to friends and on their utility meters. They also advised that they were struggling to manage due to the cost of living increases. As C had previously been awarded due to paying bills and debts, we were unable to assess that the circumstances of this application were exceptional when compared to previous applications. Additionally while we acknowledged the impact of cost of living increases, this affects all households regardless of the level of income and cannot be considered to be exceptional.  We did not change the council's decision. We also provided feedback to the council regarding timescales for the applicants first tier review decision letter.

Updated: January 18, 2023