C had applied to the council's SWF team for a crisis grant in order to obtain food, gas and electricity. C explained that they had withdrawn a significant amount of cash but had experienced memory loss/a blackout and believed they had lost the money but were unsure exactly when or where.
The council assessed that the circumstances of C's application were unlikely. They noted that C did not regularly engage with healthcare professionals or have a diagnosed condition that would explain such significant memory loss. C submitted a first tier review request. The council upheld their original decision not to make an award.
We received the council's files and spoke with C for further information. During a conversation with C it became apparent that they appeared to be suffering from very poor mental health including suicidal ideation. Mention was made of a previous substance misuse issue that may have had ongoing mental health implications. C provided evidence of their lack of available funds in their bank, after a withdrawal which is consistent with what they stated in their application.
Overall, while we recognised the reasonableness of questioning this version of events, we were satisfied that the applicant met the qualifying criteria. On balance, it appeared likely that they had lost their money while struggling with a crisis in their mental health. We instructed the council to award £159.50 for a period of 25 days, in line with the guidance. We also provided feedback to the council regarding the stage of the decision-making process the application was refused at.