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DWP issues update to state pension & benefit claimants as Post Office accounts close

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Many benefit claimants have used Post Office account cards in order to claim the sums to which they are entitled from the Government. A Post Office Card Account (POCA) is a popular bank account used for automated Government payments. It is additionally favoured by a number of State Pension recipients who use the account to collect their retirement income with ease.

However, from November 2021, the DWP and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), will stop making payments into Post Office Card Accounts.

With the deadline approaching, the DWP has issued an update, reminding Britons to take action on the matter.

The Government department has told Britons they will need to provide alternative account details before the Post Office Card Account comes to an end.

At present, the DWP is writing to state pensioners, Universal Credit claimants and all those who receive payments into a Post Office Card Account.

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“There will be no interruptions with their payments.”

After November 2021, a person’s benefits or state pension payments will not stop just because the account is closed.

But paying attention to the DWP’s outlined next steps will be key to ensure payments can still be received quickly and easily. 

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, also commented on the closure of POCAs in a statement to the Commons last year.

She said: “I can inform the House that the DWP will stop any new benefit and pension claimants form using the Post Office Card Account from May 11, as we prepare for the end of this contract.

“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.

“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.”

The Money Advice Service has also provided further guidance to those who have a Post Office account and are unsure as to what to do.

The organisation says people should wait until they start receiving their benefits or state pension into a new bank account before closing a Post Office Card Account.

Any remaining funds which are left in an old account will be transferred over, but to close a POCA, Britons will need to procure what is known as a P6703 account closure form.

This can be collected from a local Post Office or posted out if a person reaches out to the Post Office contact centre. 

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