Working with other agencies and specialist support services the bureau in West Lothian delivers added value services through a number of special projects. Each project is described below.
Pension Wise is a free and impartial government service.
It outlines an individual’s options for using their pension pot(s) for retirement income under new “flexible government rules” that came into effect from April 2015.
The service explains the benefits as well as any potential risk and restrictions of the different choices available.
It also tells you about key actions you need to take as you approach retirement, or when you plan to access your pension pot(s). As well as being free of charge and impartial this service is backed by the government and will help weigh up your options for taking your pension.
When you book an appointment to get face to face guidance to talk about your pension options and what you can do next.
At the end of your appointment you’ll get a printed summary of the options and next steps you need to take.
To arrange an appointment you can either drop into Livingston Citizens Advice Bureau here at The Almondbank Centre, Craigshill EH54 5EH or telephone 01506 436132
The project aims to offer advice and assistance to Housing Association tenants and home owners in West Lothian who may have difficulty with paying gas and electricity or are finding it difficult to adequately heat their homes.
The project can offer practical advice and assistance with:
• Fuel charge arrears
• Negotiating with suppliers
• Checking the client is on the correct tariff
• Accessing government grants and other financial assistance Schemes
• Providing energy efficiency advice
First Step One Stop Domestic Abuse Project – CAB / West Lothian Women’s Aid
West Lothian Citizens Advice Bureau and West Lothian Women’s Aid work closely to provide a welfare benefits and money advice service to individuals experiencing, or fleeing from domestic abuse.
The project works with women and men, and receives referrals from various other partners and local agencies to help with a wide range of queries:
• Benefit checks to ensure you are in receipt of your full benefits entitlement
• Assistance to make benefit claims and notification of changes of circumstances
• Advice on dispute / issues
Debt / Money Advice
• Income and expenditure check
• Negotiation with housing officers to deal with rent arrears and assistance with repayment agreements
• Budgeting advice
• Assistance with affordable repayment agreements
• Negotiation with creditors
• Advice on debt solutions
Court Advice Project
The court advice project is a partnership project with West Lothian Council. The project provides advice / assistance / representation to clients who are at risk of losing their home.
As well as this, the Project provides advice / assistance for clients who want to navigate their way through the small claims process.
The advice offered will provide clients with long term solutions to their current problems and provide them with the confidence / skills to prevent future problems arising.
Prevention and Intervention Money Advice Project (PIMAP)
The Prevention and Intervention Money Advice Project (PIMAP) works in partnership with NHS Lothian and West Lothian Council to reduce Child Poverty in West Lothian. The Project works in areas that have high rates of child poverty.
Targeted assistance will be provided at both pre and post-natal stages for families and unmet debt and financial capability needs. As the Citizens Advice Bureau provides a holistic service, there will also be a scope within the project for assisting families affected by family breakdowns, housing, employment and any other areas the client may need advice with.
Health workers, who are aware of money worries low income families face often lack the time and expertise with complex money worries, but are often well placed to improve access to those services which can assist in improving financial capability for such families.
We run an outreach service in areas of high child poverty which are: Armadale, Blackridge, Craigshill, Whitburn, Fauldhouse and Blackburn to maximise the chance of clients engaging with the service
Outreach in GP Surgeries
The Bureau delivers outreach with a number of GP Surgeries across West Lothian. The focus is to engage with clients who traditionally do not engage with mainstream advice provision.
The Project takes referrals for GP’s from the practices and patients can self-refer.
Please see our outreach page for further detail.
Advice sessions at GP Surgeries in West Lothian
At the moment we visit: West Calder on Tuesday afternoons (01506 874300), Blackridge on Wednesday mornings (01506 751238), Dedridge on Thursday mornings (01506 414586), and Ashgrove in Blackburn on Friday mornings (01506 654965). An additional outreach is presently being arranged for Strathbrock Partnership Centre in Broxburn on Friday afternoons.
If you are a patient at any of the current medical centres we visit, you can book directly with your relevant medical reception on the contact numbers above.
A range of subjects are dealt with including; benefits and benefit checks, work related issues, money troubles, consumer issues, housing, relationship and family, health, and education.
We can help families with form filling and also assist with the benefit reconsideration requests and assistance and advice on appeals. If you require help with these issues let the receptionist know you require a double appointment.
Armed Services Advice Project
The Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) provides free, dedicated information, advice and support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland. The service is provided by the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau Service. We work closely with many organisations, both Service related and others, to provide support to Scotland’s Armed Forces community.
Scotland’s Armed Forces community comprises:
• Those who are serving in the Armed Forces, Regular or Reserve, and their dependants
• Ex-Service, Regular or Reserve (Including Territorial Army), anyone who was called up for National Service and their dependants
• Members of the Merchant Navy who served in a commercial vessel in support of legally defined UK military operations and their dependants.
We can assist with:
• Benefits – entitlements, support with applications and appeals against decisions
• Debt and Money Advice – budgeting, debt management, income maximisation and improving your financial situation
• Housing – whether or not you rent, live in Service accommodation, are a homeowner or are homeless
• Work-related problems – terms and conditions, dismissal, sick absence, intimidation, unfair dismissal and redundancy
• Consumer issues – help with everything from faulty purchases to problems with your gas and electricity supplier
• Relationships – separation, children, bereavement and more
• Service related matters including referrals to the appropriate organisation to help you.
To talk to one of our trained advisers, call the helpline for free on 0808 800 1007, visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or contact the Edinburgh & the Lothians Support Officers on 01506 444814