What happens if you are refused a grant or do not qualify

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your Scottish Welfare Fund application, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a review.

You need to apply for a review within 20 days of receiving the decision about your Scottish Welfare Fund application. The time limit of 20 days can be extended if you can show you had good reasons for not applying within the 20 day time limit.

If you would like to request a review, write to: Scottish Welfare Fund Team, East Lothian Council, PO Box 13261, Haddington, East Lothian, EH41 3YA.

Your request should be in writing and should give:

  • the date and reference number from your decision letter.
  • the reasons why you do not think the right decision was made on the application. For example, this might be because you do not think we took all the relevant information into account, because you do not agree with the award that has been made or because you don't agree that you are not eligible for the Scottish Welfare Fund.
  • 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.
  • your signature. If someone is making a review request for you, you must sign the letter giving your agreement for the review to proceed.

Frequently asked questions

How long should it take me to complete my first tier review?

We aim to deal with Community Care Grant reviews within 15 working days and Crisis Grant reviews within 2 working days. We will notify you in writing of the decision. This should include an explanation of the decision and information about what you can do if you are not happy with the review decision.

The first tier review made the same decision as the original decision. Is that it?

No. If you are unhappy with our decision, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review. The SPSO service is independent and impartial.

You can ask for a second tier impartial review if you disagree with the decision because:

  • you don't think the first review was reasonable
  • you think there was an error during the decision-making
  • you don't think it was made fairly, in line with the Scottish Government, or local policy
  • you don't think that you were given an opportunity to put across your case properly.

When can I ask for a second tier review?

You should request the 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.

How do I make a second tier review request?

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.

How to contact the SPSO:

  • phone 0800 014 7299 - calls are free to this number, even from mobiles
  • write to this address: FREEPOST SPSO - you don't need to use a stamp.
  • website: www.spso.org.uk/scottishwelfarefund.

The SPSO can give you information in other languages or formats (such as large print, SMS, audio or Braille). In some cases the SPSO may be able to meet you in person.

What can they decide?

They have three options. They can:

  1. uphold, or agree with the decision
  2. set-aside the decision. This means that they will refer the application back to the original decision-making team for them to gather further information, or look at a specific aspect again
  3. overturn the decision, and make a new one.

They can't reduce the award, or take it away.

How long will it take them to reach a decision after they get my request?

The review panel aim to process Community Care Grant reviews within 21 working days, and Crisis Grant reviews within 1 working day.

Important information -  cost of living

With the cost of living increasing, many people are finding it difficult to cover essential daily living costs.

A range of measures are available to help people boost their income. Don't assume you're receiving everything you're entitled to, always check, and if you're still struggling or in doubt, get in touch.

Find out more: www.eastlothian.gov.uk/cost-of-living-support