C asked the SPSO to review the council's decision to refuse their application for a Self-Isolation Support Grant. They had applied for assistance after testing positive for COVID-19, stating that they were unable to work from home and had experienced a reduction in income as a result.
The council refused the application on the basis that they assessed C did not experience a reduction in income. They did not change their decision following C’s first tier review request.
We received the council's file and spoke with C for further information. They provided evidence of their income and proof that they received a reduction due to self-isolating. However, they explained that this was applied retrospectively as unpaid sick leave deducted from their earnings. We were satisfied that C met the remaining eligibility criteria including being on a low income as defined by the guidance. We upheld the review request and provided feedback to the council about their failure to correctly assess the available information, and for not contacting the applicant for more information prior to reaching their decision. We were also critical of the internal recording of the decision making process, and of the decision letters.