Case study

  • Date:
    January 2020
  • Category:
    Definition of an emergency


Ms C asked for an independent review of the council's decision. She had applied for a crisis grant due to having used her most recent payment of Universal Credit (UC) to repay debts to a family member. Ms C had used this money to purchase Christmas presents and clothing for her child. 

The council declined the application on the basis that they did not consider that the applicant and her child were in an emergency situation and therefore did not qualify for an award. They did not change their decision as a result of Ms C's first tier review request.

We reviewed the council's case file and spoke with Ms C for further information. We disagreed with the council's assessment that the circumstances did not qualify. We acknowledged that there had been no unexpected event or expense, nevertheless, we assessed that the situation met the definition of a crisis as outlined in section 7.26 of the guidance. This was on the basis that the family would have no further income for three weeks and were without food, heating or lighting. As such, we upheld Ms C's review request and also provided feedback that the council's written communication did not meet the standards outlined in the guidance.

Updated: February 14, 2020