DWP update on Post Office card accounts as payment method changes today
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The DWP oversees a number of benefits, and other payments such as the state pension which are important to millions of people. One of the ways many have chosen to collect their benefits or payments is by using a Post Office card account, but these are now being phased out. By November 2021, the DWP alongside HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is to stop making payments into Post Office card accounts.
As part of a process of phasing these out, certain individuals are being moved onto a voucher-based scheme known as the Payment Exception Service.
The Payment Exception Service is a way for individuals who do not have a bank account to collect benefit payments or their state pension.
At present, the service is available through the PayPoint network to those who need it.
However, from today, they will also be made accessible through the Post Office network.
The DWP confirmed customers would start to be moved to the Payment Exception Service if required from the end of August 2021.
This will occur if the Department has not yet been contacted with new details for an account.
In a statement to the Commons last year, Work and Pensions secretary Therese Coffey made reference to the service.
She said: “Uptake of accounts in the last year has been exceptionally low, but in any event, give that the vast majority of people using POCA we believe already have a bank account, the cost of the contract is poor value for taxpayers.
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“Current customers who receive payment through a Post Office card account will see no change and will continue to receive payment into their accounts for the remainder of the contract period.
“We can use the HMG Payment Exception Service for people who cannot access any bank account.”
Current Government guidance for the Payment Exception Service states individuals must collect their payment within 30 days of it being sent out.
This is unless they receive a letter stating they have 90 days to collect it.
There is also a limit of £100 for each payment collection made which should be borne in mind.
As a result, some individuals may need to make more than one collection at a time to get their full sum.
Britons will also be required to show one original document as proof of identity, for example, a valid driving licence, passport or utility bill.
The final deadline for the closure of Post Office card accounts is fast approaching, and Britons will need to take action.
If individuals can set up a bank, building society or credit union account, they could avoid having to use the Payment Exception Service.
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People will need to let the Government know where they would like their payments to be redirected to once the Post Office card account comes to an end.
However, Britons should not worry about their payments as long as they take action.
After November 2021, benefits and other payments will not stop simply because the account is closed.
But by paying attention to the DWP’s guidance, individuals can ensure they receive payment in a streamlined manner.
Individuals should always wait until they begin receiving benefits or the state pension into a new bank account before they close their Post Office card account.
Remaining funds left in an old account will be transferred over for the individual concerned.
But to close a Post Office card account, people will need to get their hands on what is known as a P6703 form – related to account closures.
This form can be procured from a local Post Office, or alternatively posted out if a person rings the Post Office contact centre.
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