C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. They had applied for a crisis grant as they had tested positive for COVID-19, and spent money paying back debts.
The council declined the initial application on the basis that C had received four awards in the last 12 months, all relating to shortfalls in income causing hardship. As such, they declined a further award on the grounds that the circumstances were not exceptional. C requested a first tier review of the decision but the council did not change their decision.
We reviewed the council's case file and spoke with C for further information about their circumstances. C confirmed that they had tested positive for COVID-19, and this was the reason they had originally applied for a grant. However, they advised that the reason they had no funds available for their living costs was because they had spent money paying back debts. We noted that C had previously been awarded due to paying back debts. As such we were unable to assess that the circumstances were exceptional when compared to previous applications and that there was no fault on the part of the applicant. We did not change the council's decision but provided feedback to the council regarding incorrect information contained in their decision letters.