Approaching retirement? Not sure what to do?

Following pension reforms on April 6, people approaching retirement have greater freedom over how they can use their pension pots. People can take a lump sum, take out an annuity or a mixture of both. Pension Wise is a new Government service designed to help people make sense of their pension options, and empower them to make the right choices for them.

Individual face to face Pension Wise guidance appointments are now available to book, for those aged 50 or over. The guidance will help you understand your options to access your (defined contribution) pension pots after age 55.

To book your guidance appointment locally call into any South Lakes CAB outlet or ring us on 015394 46464 or contact the centralised booking number on 01900 68981.

You can also find information on Pension Wise at www.pensionwise.gov.uk

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment and any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone 015394 46464 for an appointment and help.

Rewarding, challenging and interesting….

… were the top 3 words used by people to describe their volunteering experiences. Whilst 2 in 3 volunteers said volunteering reduces stress and 1 in 2 said their physical and mental health had improved. If that’s not enough here’s 10 other reasons to consider volunteering:

1 Make a difference to people’s lives

2 Help your local community

3 Try something new

4 Use your experience in a productive way

5 Develop new talents and skills

6 Challenge yourself

7 Increase your confidence

8 Inspire others to help people

9 Keep active

10 Get out of the house

South Lakes Citizen Advice is currently seeking volunteers. So if you can spare one day a week and would like to help local people, why not volunteer?  We have a range of roles and offer free training. Travel expenses will be paid.

For further information please call 015394 46464 or email

support@southlakes.cabnet.org.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment and any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone 015394 46464 for an appointment and help.

Charity walk across Morecambe Bay

South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau Organise Charity Walk Across Morecambe Bay

Join us on Saturday 5 September at 10.30am to walk the spectacular Morecambe Bay sands led by Queens Guide Cedric Robinson MBE. The walk is around 8 miles and takes approximately 3 hours starting at Arnside promenade.

The scenery is stunning, see the wildlife close by, it’s a fun but slightly weird experience walking across the mud flats! If you’ve never done it before – now is your chance.

This is a major fund-raising event to help your local South Lakes Citizens Advice.

Last year we helped 3,000 local residents with free, confidential and impartial advice.  There’s growing demand for our help and like other charities we struggle for funding. So please do come and walk with us. We think you will have a great experience and lots of fun while at the same time raising funds through sponsorship by family, friends and work colleagues.

Registration is just £5 and if you could get friends or colleagues to sponsor you that would be great.

We are limited to 200 people, so book your place early. Full details are available here.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from Citizens Advice Bureaux on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment and any other problems. We have various outlets across Cumbria and can also give advice over the phone – visit our national website to find your nearest bureau.

Car Travel Tips

 

As the holiday season is upon us, here’s a couple of travel tips that may help you get about more easily. From 8 June, the DVLA is abolishing the paper counterpart of the UK photocard licences. All endorsements, such a speeding offences, will be held electronically. If you commit an offence you will still have to pay any applicable fine and submit your licence to the court, but endorsements will no longer be recorded on the paper counterpart. You can view your record online, or request a copy by post (see http://www.gov.uk and type ‘View your driving licence information’ in the search box).

All of this means if you want to hire a vehicle, then you will no longer be able to show your paper counterpart or paper licence (pre- 1998). Instead you must obtain a unique access code (which expires after 72 hours) from the ‘Share your Licence’ online service and give this to the hire company along with the last 8 digits of your driving licence number. Alternatively you can call DVLA on 09061 393 837 and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organization, but this may be difficult overseas or out of hours. A video explaining it all is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes

Closer to home, did you know that Cumbria County Council have a ‘Highways Hotline’? Phone them on 0845 609 6609 to report potholes, faulty traffic and street lights, anything to do with the condition of our roads. It’s helpful if you have the precise location and the 3 number digit on the nearest lamppost. You can also report online, go to http://www.cumbria.gov.uk click on ‘roads and travel’ then ‘report a problem/issue’.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of debt, benefits, housing, employment, consumer problems and any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone 015394 46464 for an appointment and help.

(Please note: Views and opinions expressed by third parties, as guest posts or links, are not the views and opinions held by Citizens Advice, or the Bureaux involved in producing Campaigning Cumbria. This blog is intended as an information resource to show the type of evidence we are looking for, and the sort of changes to social policy and welfare that might impact those living in Cumbria, and to allow local people and policymakers have their say. It is not intended to provide advice, guidance or information.)

Benefits Update: Migrants Access to Benefits from 9 Feb 2015

Here’s an update from the DWP on their policy change with regards to the rights of migrants to claim benefits in the UK:

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Restricting Migrants’ Access to Benefits

Towards the end of 2014, it was agreed to roll out GPoW (Genuine Prospects of Work) assessments to all remaining claims from unemployed EEA nations who have yet to have their right to reside reviewed.  This means that from 9 February 2015, existing JSA(IB) claims made before 1 January 2014, from an EEA national, will be given three months notice that they will be subject to a GPoW assessment.  The first assessments and interviews will take place from May 2015.

Claimants will be notified by letter that in three months time they will be subject to a GPoW  interview and assessment.

Support for Vulnerable Customers

DWP has considered impacts for potentially vulnerable claimants when implementing these changes.  DWP staff are given training on how to identify vulnerable people and how they can best support their needs.  DWP Decision Makers complete specialist training and are provided with all the necessary guidance to carry out this role. They can also draw on specialised support where needed.

 As with all areas of DWP business, it is not always possible to tell when someone is potentially vulnerable.  So, if there are any aspects of a person’s circumstances that they would like DWP to be aware of or if there are reasonable measures that staff could take to support them; the claimant should let DWP staff know at the point of contact.

 Further information is available on www.gov.uk

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If you’re affected by this change in policy, get in touch with your local bureau (see top blog post on how to do this) and let them know you wish to give evidence on how it’s impacted you.

(Please note: Views and opinions expressed by third parties, as guest posts or links, are not the views and opinions held by Citizens Advice, or the Bureaux involved in producing Campaigning Cumbria.  This blog is intended as an information resource to show the type of evidence we are looking for, and the sort of changes to social policy and welfare that might impact those living in Cumbria, and to allow local people and policymakers have their say. It is not intended to provide advice, guidance or information.)