Case study

  • Date:
    August 2020
  • Category:
    Low income


C asked their council for a crisis grant as they had run into financial difficulties and were struggling with their mental health. Initially, the council interpreted that C was unemployed and advised they should make a claim for Universal Credit (UC). C explained that they were in full-time employment and therefore not eligible for UC.  Despite this, the council upheld their original decision not to make an award, this time on the basis that C was not on a low income and therefore not eligible.

While reviewing the case, we noted that in their application to the SPSO C had mentioned recent hospitalisation.  This was information that did not appear to be in C’s original application to the council. C explained that they had suffered a mental health crisis during the COVID-19 lockdown, had needed to attend hospital and had missed work, resulting in a lower wage this month. We were able to confirm C’s admission to hospital, and considered that on this occasion they met the eligibility criteria due to their reduced income. We therefore changed the council’s decision on the basis of “new information received” and awarded the applicant £57.33 for the nine days until their next income.

Updated: August 18, 2020