Case study

  • Date:
    January 2024
  • Category:
    Incorrect interpretation of available information


C requested an independent review of the Council's decision on their crisis grant application. They applied for money for food, gas, electricity and travel costs. C explained that their bank account had been closed unexpectedly and there were unable to access their funds.

The Council assessed that the applicant had received the normal maximum level of assistance in a 12 month period, although noted that the circumstances were potentially exceptional as their bank account had been closed. However, they declined the application as C did not provide bank statements to verify their crisis situation. At first tier review, C provided a bank statement. However, the Council did not change their decision as they noted that C had £8.78 remaining in their account and would be paid early due to the Christmas bank holiday.

We reviewed the Council’s file and contacted C by email for further information about payment of their benefit. C confirmed their benefit payment date was 28 December and that they would not be paid early. They provided a screenshot from their journal to confirm this. Based on the information available, we assessed that C was in crisis and that the current application met the exceptional circumstances criteria as they had not applied for similar circumstances previously and they were not at fault for their situation. We changed the Council’s decision as we assessed that they had incorrectly interpreted the available information. We also provided feedback that their initial decision records did not contain sufficient information, and that they had asked for a bank statement for a period that was not required.

Updated: January 23, 2024