C asked for an independent review of the council’s decision. They had applied for a Self-Isolation Support Grant as they had tested positive for COVID-19 and were required to self-isolate. C was self-employed and could not work for a fortnight.
The council initially refused the application on the basis of C's Universal Credit (UC) claim. They noted that while the claim was open, they received no award after their most recent assessment period. C requested a first tier review. The council upheld their initial decision, and noted that as well as not receiving an eligible benefit, the applicant's details did not appear on the list of people asked to isolate in the local authority area provided by NHS Test and Protect.
C submitted an independent review request. We requested the council's files and spoke with the applicant for additional information. We were able to contact Test and Protect and verify that the applicant had been asked to self-isolate (there appeared to be initial difficulties with the information sharing necessary for these applications to be processed). We also obtained information from C about their UC claim, noting that they had received UC for a number of months throughout the pandemic, and that they are due a payment this month. On this basis we assessed that C was eligible for an award and instructed the council to provide the applicant with a £500 grant. We were critical that the council had not sought additional information from C prior to making their decision.