From the end of November 2021, HM Revenue & Customs, will stop paying Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance via Post Office card accounts, forcing everyone to use a bank account.
Bruce MacFarlane (SNP candidate for the Paisley Southeast by election) said: “The decision to stop using Post Office bank accounts to pay benefits will also impact on those relying on funding from the DWP, although they have decided to delay the change until November 2022.”
While the HMRC will only accept bank accounts (including building societies and credit union accounts), the DWP will offer an alternative, non-banking option of a Payment Exception Service where vouchers will be offered via online, text or a payment card.
Although this means you can still receive cash payment at post offices (and at PayPoint retail outlets) there is a limit of £100 on each voucher. This means if your benefit is over £100 you will have to use your card multiple times. Although you don’t have to cash all your vouchers at the same time, if you don’t cash a voucher within 90 days the payment expires, and you will have to contact the DWP office which issued the voucher to reclaim this payment.
Bruce MacFarlane added: “Yet again, we see the UK Tory Government making life more difficult for those on benefits. The Post Office card account was introduced in 2003 to help those who had problems accessing a bank account and if anything, this has got more difficult in recent years.
“If the DWP can offer a non-banking alternative – even if it has some major problems – then why can’t the HMRC? Why is the HMRC deliberately penalising those who have problems accessing a bank account?
“There is no need for this move. There are already too many people who don’t receive the benefits they are entitled to and this move will impact on some of the most vulnerable people in Renfrewshire.”
Councillor Kenny MacLaren said: “I’ve been working with Cllr Stephen Burns to campaign against the lack of free to use ATMs in Paisley and Renfrewshire. This, combined with various bank closures, means it will be even more difficult for many people to open a bank account and to access their benefits.
“This over-reliance on a banking system which is letting down communities with branch closures and a massive reduction in free to use ATMs will have a severe impact on those who most need help.”
If you are receiving payments from HMRC, you can contact HMRC’s helpline on 0345 300 3900 for tax credits or 0300 200 3100 for child benefit.