Case study

  • Date:
    November 2021
  • Category:
    Exceptional circumstances for crisis grants


C asked us to review the council's decision to reject their crisis grant application. They had applied for a crisis grant to cover food, gas and electricity. C's position was that they were in a crisis as they had spent their income and unexpectedly lost their job as they were unable to drive. They also stated that they had not been paid for the shifts that they had worked.

The council refused C's application at both stages of the process on the basis that C had already received three awards in the last 12 months and the circumstances of this application were not considered to be exceptional.

We reviewed the council's file and corresponded with C via email. C expanded upon their position and provided evidence in relation to the situation with their employment and bank statement evidence. We noted that C had applied within the last 28 days, but we deemed there to have been a relevant change of circumstances due to C losing their job. We took the view that the evidence supported C's position that they had been unable to work any further shifts without a car, and their contractual terms meant that they would not be receiving any wages for the time already worked.

We considered this to be exceptional and that C was not at fault as the situation was unexpected and it was reasonable for them to rely upon expected wages. It was also not originally a condition of the job for C to be able to drive. We thereafter deemed that C's application met all the necessary criteria for an award. We changed the council's decision and awarded C £134.40. We provided the council with a material finding in relation to not making further enquiries before making their decision. We provided feedback about the lack of an assessment to consider whether there had been a change in circumstances within 28 days and feedback about both decision letters not referring to C's full circumstances.

Updated: November 17, 2021