THOUSANDS of Brits on benefits should urgently check their accounts before tomorrow so they don't risk losing cash.

Anybody that used to get certain benefits paid into a Post Office card account needs to make sure that they've withdrawn all their cash by tomorrow (November 30).

The Post Office card account was a service linked to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that let households receive their state pension, Universal Credit or other benefit payments if they didn't have a bank account.

Around 382,000 people used a Post Office card account at one point and it allowed customers to withdraw funds with no fees or charges.

The HMRC stopped making payments into these accounts on April 6.

This meant that account holders receiving tax credits, child benefit and guardian's allowance payments needed to notify the HMRC of an alternative account to which they could make payments.


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The DWP which pays out the state pension and Universal Credit stopped making payments into these accounts from May 25.

But it's vital that card account holders have made sure to withdraw any cash still sitting in their account.

From November 30, local Post Office branches will no longer provide balance claim forms and won't be able to process claims in branches from then on.

Instead, the closed accounts will be transferred to the management of J.P. Morgan Europe Limited.

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And from December 1, customers will need to call a new helpline to start a claim for any unwithdrawn cash.

Customers wishing to withdraw any remaining cash in their closed account will need to call 0800 015 8640.

Those that make a claim will get their cash back through a bank transfer or via cheque.

A Post Office spokesperson said: "Any funds that are in a closed account will be held indefinitely until a customer has made a claim.

"There is no deadline for claiming a balance. From 1 December a dedicated website and contact centre will go live with information about how to complete and where to return a form in order to make a claim.

"The balance will be paid either as a direct transfer to an account of the customer’s choosing or by cheque."

How can you receive benefits without a bank account now?

If you don't have a bank account, the DWP can make your benefit payments through the Payment Exception Service.

This service allows customers to receive cash in three different ways:

  • A unique reference number via text message (SMS)
  • A unique PDF voucher via email
  • A payment card

The payment card is provided by the DWP and allows customers to take out money at any PayPoint retailer or Post Office branch – customers don't need a computer or smartphone with this option.

To collect payment of a benefit or state pension payment with a text or email – just show it at your local PayPoint outlet or Post Office branch.

Customers wishing to collect the value of their payment vouchers must also give proof of identity.

This can be done by showing a driving licence, passport, benefit entitlement letter or council tax or utility bill.

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If you don’t cash in a benefit voucher within 90 days of receiving it, the payment expires and returns to the office that pays your benefit. You will need to contact that office to reclaim it. 

If you decide that the Payment Exception Service isn’t for you and you open a bank, credit union or building society current account, you can switch to being paid directly into your new bank account by contacting the office that pays your benefit. 

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