News

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Coronavirus Frauds!

HCC Trading Standards warns of fraudsters who are exploiting the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation for their own gain. Frauds to look out for include:

  • Miracle Cures
  • Coronavirus Home Testing
  • Deep Cleaning Services
  • Substandard Protective Equipment
  • Fake Hand Sanitiser

See website for further details of these and other scams, and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.


Volunteer Awards 2019

We are pleased to announce that we received the runner up award in the Unity " Volunteer Team of the Year" category.

Thanks Nikki, Rhod, Marian, Rochelle and Stephen for attending the award ceremony on behalf of Citizens Advice Test Valley.

Volunteer Awards 2019

We are pleased to announce that we received the runner up award in the Unity " Volunteer Team of the Year" category.

Thanks Nikki, Rhod, Marian, Rochelle and Stephen for attending the award ceremony on behalf of Citizens Advice Test Valley.


Citizens Advice Test Valley's Universal Credit Service

Citizens Advice Test Valley continue to offer a service called “Help to Claim” for those who need help to apply for Universal Credit in Test Valley. People can get our support as they submit their Universal Credit application to get their first full payment.

Universal Credit is a new benefit that combines 6 benefits into 1, including Jobseekers Allowance and Working Tax Credits. It is now fully rolled out across the UK. When fully implemented, around 7 million people in England and Wales will be receiving Universal Credit.

Help is tailored to the individual and available, face-to-face, over the phone 0800 144 8 444 and online through webchat and advice content https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim/. This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence like childcare costs.

A survey by Citizens Advice found more than a third of people Citizens Advice has helped struggled to provide the evidence needed to complete their Universal Credit claim.

The charity has helped a number of people locally with problems relating to Universal Credit. Nationally, Citizens Advice has helped over 230,000 people with Universal Credit.

The Help to Claim service will be delivered through the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales. Citizens Advice Scotland will also be delivering the new service in Scotland.

Ange Moon Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Test Valley, said:

“On 1 April 2019, we launched a new service specifically for those who need help applying for Universal Credit.

“We offer free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to people in the community every day and have developed an expertise in dealing with Universal Credit. We’ve seen first-hand what can happen when people struggle to make a claim and their payments are delayed.

“We encourage anyone who needs help with their application to get in touch with us either in-person, over the phone or over webchat https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim/.”


We are a Third Party Reporting Centre for Hate Crime.

Hate Crime - Third Party Reporting Centres

Hate crimes are acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are, e.g. because of a person's disability, race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

It is widely accepted that hate crimes are under reported. Not all victims are comfortable with reporting their experiences directly to the police. Third Party Reporting Centres overcome these barriers by providing an alternative to directly reporting to the police. See www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk for more details.


Get To Grips With Your Pension

Citizens Advice Test Valley encourages over 50s to get to grips with their pension

The average age of people getting guidance with their pension is 61 despite free support being available for anyone over 50.

This means people could be planning their retirement finances 11 years before finishing work, to make sure they have the right money to fit into their plans.

As the Pension Wise service reaches its first anniversary, Citizens Advice Test Valley says it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement and is encouraging locals 50 and over to book a free guidance session.

In April 2015, rules around pensions changed and for the first time, people were able to decide whether they buy an annuity, cash in their whole pension pot, take a lump sum, or a mixture of these options.

Ange Moon, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Test Valley said:

“It’s never too early to start thinking about your pension.

“For many 50 year olds retirement may seem a long way off but it’s a good time to start understanding how your pension could support your plans for the future.

“The pension freedoms have given consumers a lot of options they might not be aware of or fully understand, such as cashing in part of their pension. Pension Wise guidance specialists can walk people through their options and get them on the right track towards a financially secure retirement.

To book a face to face or telephone Pension Wise appointment call 0800 138 8292.

What to prepare to get the most out of your Pension Wise appointment:

  • First, work out the value of your pension pots. You can look at your most recent statement, or contact your provider.
  • Check if there are any restrictions on your pension, such as penalties for taking it early.
  • Get a state pension forecast - you can find out how to do this from the Pension Wise website.
  • Gather information on any benefits you receive as any pension decision you make could affect these.
  • Work out your likely living expenses, including the cost of essentials like housing and utilities, and leisure activities. This should help you come up with a rough budget, which you can compare to your potential pension income.

Bring the information to your Pension Wise appointment. Your guidance specialist will help you think through your circumstances, and present the options available to you.


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