Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Review

0800 014 7299

Date: 
May, 2019
Subject: 
Exceptional circumstances for crisis grants
Outcome: 
Not upheld

Ms C applied for a crisis grant for food and living expenses.  Her temporary employment had ended the previous month and she made a claim for Universal Credit (UC).   She had received backdated holiday pay and as a result, was not eligible for her first payment of UC. She therefore had a significant waiting period until she was due to receive any income.  

The council assessed that the application was not eligible as she had received three awards in the previous year and the circumstances were not exceptional. They upheld this decision at the first tier review stage.

We considered the facts and circumstances of the case. We reviewed Ms C's application history and noted that her previous two awards were due to issues transitioning from work to benefits and therefore the applications were made for very similar reasons. Taking into account sections 7.21 to 7.23 of the guidance, while the applicant was not at fault for her situation, we did not consider that the circumstances were exceptional and did not uphold the review request. We provided feedback to the council that their initial decision letter lacked personalisation and detail.

Updated: August 13, 2019