C had applied for a crisis grant as they had recently been subject to benefit sanctions. As a result of this, C had no money to cover their essential living costs.
The council declined the application on the basis that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advised that C had not been subject to benefit sanctions, but had earnings and this was why their Universal Credit (UC) payment was zero. The council did not change their decision as a result of C’s first tier review request.
We reviewed the council’s case file and spoke with C for further information. We disagreed with the council’s assessment that the applicant was not eligible. C told us that they had benefit sanctions in November and December and earnings in January which had been spent. We checked with the DWP who confirmed this. We deemed C was eligible for a grant, met the qualifying conditions and the necessary priority level. As such, we upheld C’s review request and instructed the council to make a payment. We provided feedback to the council about their decision-making as we assessed that they did not make sufficient enquiries with the applicant and based their decision purely on information from the DWP.