Those who receive benefits in this manner must update details or face cessation of payments
HM Revenue and Customs has warned citizens that receive payments from the department to a Post Office card account that they have less than three weeks to switch to another method or risk the cessation of their benefits.
From 1 December, HMRC will no longer make payments – including those related to Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance, and tax credits – to Post Office card accounts. According to the department, about 24,000 people around the country currently receive money via such an account.
These people are urged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible to provide updated details of a bank account to which they can receive payments.
Those that fail to do so by 30 November will see their payments paused until new details are provided.
For recipients who have an online Government Gateway account – or are able to create one – updates can be made via GOV.UK. Others are encouraged to ring the helplines for Child Benefit (0300 200 3100) or tax credits (0345 300 3900).
“If customers cannot open a bank account, they should contact HMRC,” the department said.
HMRC indicated that it has been writing to affected customers since October 2019 to advise them of the impending change, and urge them to prepare.
Director general for customer services Myrtle Lloyd said: “Time is running out for customers who have been using a Post Office card account to get payments from us. They need to give us their new account details now to avoid their payments being suspended. They can update their details online or by calling us, and they need to be very careful to avoid handing over personal details to fraudsters contacting them claiming to be from HMRC.”
The Department for Work and Pensions is also planning to stop making payments to Post Office card accounts, although it announced in September that “following the disruption caused by the pandemic” it was extending the deadline for another year to November 2022.
The DWP is in the process of contacting the thousands of people affected to reiterate its encouragement that they should open a bank account.
And, for those that cannot do so, the department will move them onto an especially created Payment Exception service, through which they will be issued with a card allowing them to continue to collect payments from the Post Office.
HMRC, however, is pressing on with the Post Office card payment shut-off as planned.
“If any HMRC customers also receive DWP payments, the [one-year] extension only applies to DWP-related payments,” the tax agency said.