Refused a Scottish Welfare Grant?
What happens if I am refused a grant or I do not qualify?
You can ask us to look at the decision again. This is called a review. Someone in the team, other than the person who made the original decision, will look at your application again.
This leaflet tells you what you can do when you think a decision is wrong.
Requests should normally be within one month from the date of the original decision.
Step:1 - Call us and we will explain the decision to you
If you disagree with our decision on your application for assistance via the Scottish Welfare Fund, please call us on 0300 5550265 (option 3) and we will explain the decision to you.
Step:2 – First Tier Review - Scottish Welfare Fund Team (Fife Council)
If you are still unhappy with the decision you can also ask us to review the original decision, this is called a First Tier Review, please tell us why you think we made the wrong decision using our online form.
You need to give us:
- The date and reference number from your letter
- The reasons why you do not think the right decision has been made
- Additional information which you did not give us when you filled in your application but which you think might make a difference to our decision. Please phone us to find out more about this if you are not sure.
- Information on any changes to your circumstances since the application which might make a difference to our decision.
If you don’t have online access, please write to: Scottish Welfare Fund Team, Fife Council, New City House, 1 Edgar Street, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 7EP within 1 month from the date a decision was made on your application request.
- If someone is making a review request for you, you must sign the letter giving your agreement for the review to proceed.
This initial review will be completed by a different person within the team. We will notify you of our decision in writing within 2 working days for Crisis Grants and 15 working days for Community Care Grants. This will include an explanation of the decision.
The review can decide to:
- Uphold, or agree with the original decision you were given
- Change the original decision you we were given
Your award will not be reduced or taken away.
Step:3 – Independent Review – Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)
If you are unhappy with the council’s decision, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. Before contacting the SPSO you will have already applied to the Scottish Welfare Fund and received your First Tier Review decision letter. The SPSO is not part of the council.
- You can ask for an independent review only after the council has given you their decision on their review. The council will send you a First Review decision letter that tells you about contacting the SPSO.
- You should ask the SPSO for an independent review within one month of the first tier review decision. In some circumstances you may be able to ask for a review after this. You should contact the SPSO for advice
- You can ask the SPSO for an independent review over the phone or in writing. If you prefer, they will send you a form in the post, or you can print it off their website or fill it in online.
- You will need to tell the SPSO that you have received the council’s first tier review decision. If someone is asking for an independent review on your behalf, you will need to tell the SPSO that you are happy for this to happen.
The SPSO will consider whether the council made a reasonable and fair decision. They will do this by checking that the council:
- followed Scottish Government guidance regulations
- considered information that was accurate relevant and complete
- made appropriate enquiries to get that evidence
- made their decision fairly, based on relevant evidence and your own individual circumstances, and
- in making their decision, treated you with dignity and respect
After you have asked for an independent review, the SPSO will start work straight away. The SPSO will ask you and the council for the information they need. Getting this information can take time. This means the SPSO may need several days from the date you apply to give you their decision on a review of a Crisis Grant and several weeks from the date you apply to give you their decision on a review of a Community Care Grant.
They will aim to give you their decision within the following times:
- For Crisis Grants, one working day from when they get all the information they need to make a decision
- For Community Care Grants, 21 working days from when they get all the information they need to make a decision
The SPSO can decide to:
- to change part or all of the council’s decision
- to tell the council to make a new decision, or
- not to change the council’s decision in an way
Your award won’t reduce or take away any award the council’s Scottish Welfare Fund team has given you.
If you wish to apply for an independent review of your Scottish Welfare Fund decision, please use the online application form (link is external) or phone them on 0800 014 7299.
To make things quicker and easier for you, please have a copy of your First Tier Review decision letter to hand before contacting the SPSO.
If you have not applied for a Scottish Welfare Fund grant or have not recieved a First Tier Review letter from us, please call 0300 555 0265.
For more help with living on a budget click here.