Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Review

0800 014 7299

Ms C applied for a crisis grant for assistance with living costs.

  • Date:
    December 2019
  • Subject:
    Entitlement to SWF for people from abroad
  • Outcome:
    Upheld

Ms C applied for a crisis grant for assistance with living costs. Her application for Universal Credit (UC) had failed after the habitual residence test (HRT) was declined. However, she had applied for settled status and had reapplied for UC on that basis.

The council declined the application on the basis that they assessed her situation as ongoing. This was upheld at first tier review.

Ms C approached SPSO for an independent review. We considered the facts and circumstances of the case and spoke to Ms C for further information. On the basis of the available information, we disagreed with the assessment that the situation was ongoing. While it was a repeat application within 28 days, we considered the circumstances were sufficiently different and could be classed as a relevant change in circumstances in line with section 6.1 of the guidance. This was because in between her previous and current application, Ms C had applied for ‘settled status’ which would override the need for an HRT. She had also made a new claim for UC. We provided feedback to the council that they had not addressed the points Ms C raised in her review request and also did not manage expectations when signposting to make a new application. We instructed the council to make a 14 day award on the basis that their reasons for refusal were not supported by the guidance.

Updated: December 17, 2019