A letter has been issued to claimants in Northern Ireland who currently have benefits paid into post office accounts.
Claimants are asked to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide alternative banking or credit union account details for future payments. This information will be held securely by DWP. If claimants have any concerns they should contact DWP on the number included in the letter which is 0800 085 7133 or textphone 0800 085 7146 who can discuss the process.
HMRC is committed to tackling financial exclusion and helping more people to move towards, and benefit from, mainstream banking. Customers who continue to use POCA’s could be disadvantaged and this may add to their financial vulnerability in the long term.
As mentioned in the update there are less barriers to prevent people from opening and using bank accounts and those without an account should talk to a local bank, building society or credit union about setting one up. Alternatively a call to the dedicated Freephone service offers an opportunity for customers to be provided with information to help them choose an account that’s right for their circumstances or be signposted to further sources of information.
However, whilst the majority of benefit payments are paid into a bank account we do recognise that some customers remain unable to access such services. A commitment was made last year to maintain POCAs until 2021 to ensure that people who cannot use a mainstream account can continue to access their payments.
So to summarise it is not a scam, if anyone has any concerns they should ring the number highlighted in the letter