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Benefit payments are changing for people with Post Office accounts – explained

Post Office card accounts (POca) are being shut down on November 30 after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided not to renew its contract – here is what you need to know

The way benefits are collected is changing for people with a Post Office card account

People who claim benefits and the state pension through the Post Office are being moved to a new payment method from this week.

Post Office card accounts (POca) are being shut down on November 30 after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided not to renew its contract.

But those who still use this service are being shifted to the Payment Exception service.

The Payment Exception service allows those who don’t have a bank account to access benefit payments via the PayPoint network.

You can withdraw your cash either by using a payment card, voucher by email, or text message containing a unique reference number.



Post Office card accounts (POca) are being shut down on November 30
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Image:

Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)




Either of these methods must be presented at a PayPoint outlet, which are in shops and newsagents, in order to access your benefits.

Customers started to be moved to the Payment Exception service from the end of August 2021.

You’ll be moved to this service if you have a Post Office card account and haven’t yet contacted the DWP with new bank account details.







What happens after November when Post Office accounts stop?

The Post Office card account is a service linked to the DWP that lets you receive your state pension, Universal Credit or other benefit payments.

It is designed for people who don’t have a bank account to get their benefits.

Crucially, when the final Post Office card accounts do close, your benefits or state pension payments will not stop. Your payment dates will also not change.

The only change is that you will no longer be able to use a Post Office Card account to withdraw your money.





This means you will need to keep using the Payment Exception service, or tell the DWP to pay your benefits into a bank account.

This can be a new one that you open ahead of the changes, or one you already have.

Customers can phone the DWP on 0800 085 7133 (opening hours are 8.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday) to provide new account details for their benefit or State Pension payments.

Eventually, you will also need to tell the Post Office to close your Card account.

Are you experiencing issues with state pension payments? Get in touch: [email protected]

You can do this by completing an account closure form at your local Post Office, or calling 0345 722 33 44.

In an update last year, it was estimated that 780,000 people use a Post Office card account.

The service launched in 2003 and closed for new benefit and pension claimants in May 2020.

Speaking about the change, a DWP spokesperson previously said more new benefit claimants are opting to receive their money into a bank account.

They said: “The vast majority of new DWP customers use existing bank accounts to receive payments, with the number of requests for new Post Office card accounts extremely low.”




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