C requested an independent review of the council's decision about their crisis grant application. C applied for money for food and utilities after the bank account containing their benefit payment was unexpectedly closed.
The council refused the application on the basis that C had already received four awards in last 12-month period, which is one more than the usual maximum of three. They did not identify any exceptional circumstances that would allow for an additional award to be made.
We reviewed the council's file and corresponded with C. We noted that C had never applied to the fund before in relation to issues with their bank. We also assessed that C could not have prevented the bank from closing their account. On that basis, we were satisfied that the application met the eligibility criteria for an award. However, during the information gathering process we noted that C had access to almost £100 at the time of their application. On that basis, we did not assess that C qualified for a crisis grant as they had money to meet their essential living costs at the time of their application. We did not change the council's overall decision but provided them with feedback about their assessment of ‘exceptional circumstances'. We also reminded them of the need to consider whether applicants have applied within 28 days of a previous application.