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Payment options

The Government’s preference is to make State Pension payments into a bank, building society or credit union account, as the most efficient and cost-effective way to do so. Payment into a Post Office card account (POca) remains an option until at least November 2021, although the Government has the option to extend the contract to 2024 (PQ 108720 24 October 2017; DEP 2017/0316; PQ 108721).

The Government has launched a new service to help people who may need help to access their benefit or State Pension payment during the Coronavirus outbreak. It has contacted 27,000 out of approximately 900,000 users of the POca who it thinks may need support: 

Access to State Pension and benefits for people asked to shield themselves There are approximately 900,000 users of the Post Office Card Account (POca) system for accessing their pensions or benefits. These POca customers ordinarily need to leave the house to access payments at the Post Office. The Department has worked closely with the National Shielding Service which is contacting clinically vulnerable citizens who have been advised by NHS England to shield as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. We launched a new service on 10th April through which we have contacted 27,000 citizens who have POca accounts and we considered who may need support to access their Benefit or State Pension payment. The Department has worked tirelessly to identify those older, vulnerable customers who urgently require help to access their payments. For those needing help, DWP Visiting Officers are able to discuss a number of options available to customers over the phone and we have worked closely with Post Office Ltd to provide contact free cash payments by Royal Mail Special Delivery to support the most vulnerable, with guaranteed next day delivery. This cash service adds to a range of measures we are using to support these individuals shielding at home. (HCWS200 27 April 2020).

There are Coronavirus FAQs on the POca website.

Payment arrangements

The State Pension is a weekly benefit, generally only paid in multiples of a week. It is usually paid four-weekly in arrears. From 2010, individuals are allocated a payday according to the final two digits in their National Insurance number. (SI 1978/1968, reg 22C; Gov.UK/The new State Pension: what you’ll get)

Before the introduction of the new State Pension on 6 April 2016, payment started from the first payday after the individual reached State Pension age, meaning there was often a gap at the beginning of the claim. The same principle applied at the other end of an award, so that when the pensioner died, their state pension was payable to the end of that benefit week.

With the introduction of the new State Pension, the rules were changed to allow part-week payments at the start and end of a State Pension claim. Although people may have to wait a few days for their first payday (as before), they will receive an amount in arrears to cover the gap (Explanatory Memorandum to SI 2015/1985, para 7.14)

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