Case study

  • Date:
    August 2022
  • Category:
    Exceptional circumstances for crisis grants


C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. They had applied for a crisis grant as their utility bill had increased substantially due to cost of living increases. This had left them short of funds for living costs until their next benefit income.

The council declined the initial application on the basis that C had received three awards in the last 12 months and two of these related to shortfalls in income due to utility bills. They deemed that it was not appropriate to make a further award as the circumstances were not exceptional. C requested a first tier review, but the council did not change their decision.

We reviewed the council's case file and spoke with C for further information . C confirmed that they had spent their income on their normal monthly expenditure, but that the rise in fuel bills had placed additional pressure on their finances. We noted that C had received three awards in the last 12 months, and two of these were due to utility bills. Overall, we did not uphold C’s review request as we deemed that the reason for the application was not exceptional in nature, and that the situation was common for those on a low income. As such, the exceptional circumstances criteria set out in sections 7.21 to 7.23 of the guidance were not met.

C requested a reconsideration of the decision on the basis that they were not at fault for the electricity bill coming out of their account and for the increasing costs. We were sympathetic to their situation but did not change our original decision as we agreed that the eligibility criteria was not met due to their application history.

Updated: August 24, 2022