Case study

  • Date:
    December 2023
  • Category:
    Low income


C requested an independent review of the council's decision about their crisis grant application. They explained that they had started a new job and would not receive their first salary payment until the end of the month. This left them without funds for their immediate living costs.

The council declined the application as they assessed that C was not receiving benefits, and therefore could not be considered to be on a low income. C requested a first tier review and the council subsequently declined this request, reiterating that they were not receiving a low income. They added that C’s crisis was an anticipated need as they had some food available, and that C’s request for travel costs were excluded.

We reviewed the council’s file and contacted C for further information. As they were not receiving benefits and yet to receive their first wage, we requested bank statements to verify their income. The bank statements provided showed that C had survived by exhausting their savings and receiving some support from friends and family, who were no longer able to assist. C had also received some money from a betting site but we considered this was not ‘earned income’ and so should not be considered when assessing low income. Therefore, we changed the council’s decision on the basis that they did not follow the low income assessment process set out in the SWF guidance.

We agreed that travel was excluded but awarded food and other essential costs. While C had a small amount of food available when they applied, we assessed this was not sufficient to meet their needs. We provided feedback to the council that their first tier decision letter was not in line with the SWF guidance.

Updated: December 19, 2023