C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. They had applied for a self-isolation support (SIS) grant as they had been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, and were advised to self-isolate. C, a taxi driver, was unable to work from home so experienced a reduction in income. The council declined the initial application on the basis that C was not advised by the Test and Protect service to self-isolate. C requested a first tier review of the decision but the council did not change their decision for the same reason.
We reviewed the council's case file and contacted C for further information on how they were notified to self-isolate and about their household income. Once we received all of the information to make a decision we changed the council’s decision. This was because we identified that C was advised to self-isolate by an equivalent UK service to the Test and Protect service. This is in line with section 11.21, which states that eligibility for a SIS grant is restricted to people who have received a public health request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, either because they have tested positive for Coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. We also sought a view on low income assessments from the Scottish Government as C was self-employed and therefore a calculation was necessary to determine their net income. In doing so, we assessed that their household income met the criteria relating to being in receipt of an income of Universal Credit plus an additional 25%. We assessed that they met the remaining eligibility criteria and instructed the council to make an award of £500. We also provided feedback to the council around their timescales for decision-making. Although we stressed that we were mindful of the operational pressures faced by the council, we highlighted that they had not handled the case in line with the timescales set within the guidance.