State pension payments can come through to regular bank accounts but some may choose to receive their income through the Post Office. A Post Office Card Account (POCA) can be used for this purpose but physically collecting payments can be difficult at the moment.
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This is especially true for the elderly who are more at risk of coronavirus.
Thankfully, a state pensioner can nominate someone to become a “Permanent Agent” who will be able to collect the cash on their behalf.
This agent should be someone the pensioner trusts and they will be given their own card and PIN to collect the payments.
Usually, a person can nominate a Permanent Agent by completing a P6163 access form which can be received from most branches.
However, this is itself could be difficult as the person involved would have to physically visit a branch to get the forms.
Fortunately, the Post Office has anticipated this and they have adapted the nomination process.
As they detail on their website: “We are now able to accept nominations for a permanent agent over the phone, to apply please call 03457 22 33 44, please ensure you have the full name and date of birth of the person you wish to add to your account.
“We will ask you some security questions once you have passed these we will be able to send you a letter to give to your agent which will allow them to pick up their card at the nearest Post Office, you will also receive a PIN for your agent.
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“You and your agent are both required to sign and date the letter before it is taken to the Post Office, your agent will be required to provide ID.”
It should also be noted that the pensioner involved could ask someone to take the form to the Post Office on their behalf so long as it is completed and has been signed.
Many Post Offices will likely be closed at the moment but POCA users should still have some options.
Closed branches should have a notice advising visitors of their nearest open branch.
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It is also possible to withdraw pension cash from a Post Office ATM using POCA.
If the person involved loses their card or has it stolen they must report it and they will then be asked to confirm some answers to security questions.
Once these questions have been answered correctly the pensioner will be given a reference number.
This reference number will then need to be taken to a Post Office branch with valid identification documents and a new card will be issued immediately.
The DWP are in the process of trying to get people to convert to alternative accounts for their pensions and other benefits.
Some affected claimants may have already been contacted about this, as the Post Offices website confirmed: “DWP and other government departments are implementing a conversion campaign to encourage POca customers to convert to an alternative account to receive payment of pensions, benefits and tax credits.
“You are likely to receive a letter during the next 12 months asking for your bank account details or providing information on where to go for advice on opening an account.
“Many of our customers have already received a letter and converted to a bank account and are continuing to visit their Post Office branch to withdraw their money.”
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