C had applied for living expenses as their partner had left them. C explained that they had a joint Universal Credit (UC) claim which was paid to their ex-partner’s bank account. Their ex-partner had taken the full benefit payment when the relationship broke down. As a result of this, C, who was eight months pregnant and had a child, had no access to any money. The council originally declined the application as C had applied previously under the same circumstances, but they changed their decision at first tier review and awarded C living costs for a period of seven days for them and one child.
We reviewed the council's file and spoke with C on the phone. We agreed with the council's decision at first tier review that C was eligible for a grant, met the qualifying conditions and the necessary priority level. However, we disagreed with the council’s decision not to award for C’s unborn child. Section 7.25 of the SWF guidance explains that a dependent child may include an unborn child once the pregnancy has advanced to 24 weeks. We therefore made a further award to C for their unborn child. We provided the council with feedback about not following the guidance correctly in terms of how the award was calculated.