C applied for a community care grant for a number of household items. This was either because they did not have the items or because the items they had were in poor condition and needed to be replaced. C stated that they were suffering from serious mental health problems and also had physical health issues.
The council assessed that the application met the eligibility criteria and made a number of enquiries in order to verify C's circumstances and that they were in receipt of support. They did not obtain confirmation of this and so deemed that C did not meet any of the qualifying conditions. At first tier review, C advised that they had met with their community psychiatric nurse (CPN) who had confirmed no one from the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) had contacted them. C advised the council to speak with their CPN as they would confirm their circumstances. The council carried out a first tier review but made no attempts to contact C’s CPN and reiterated that C did not meet any of the qualifying conditions for a grant.
We reviewed the council’s case file and contacted C for further information. They explained that they had moved into a new tenancy and also confirmed that they had experienced poor mental health in the past which had resulted in them being admitted to hospital. C gave us permission to contact their CPN who verified the health difficulties described. We considered that being without the requested household items in their new tenancy could have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing and ability to maintain the tenancy. As such, we deemed that the pressure they were facing was more than financial and that they met the criteria relating to exceptional pressure.
We changed the council’s decision on the basis that insufficient enquiries had been made to carry out a robust assessment of C’s circumstances. We awarded a bed, bedding, a washing machine and a microwave. We provided feedback to the council about their decision letters as they were not in line with the SWF guidance.