To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Written Statement of 27 April 2020, HCWS200 on Pensions: Response to covid-19, how the 27,000 pensioners contacted were identified; whether her Department has been able to identify all those people likely to need help because they usually collect their pension in cash; and if she will make a statement.
15 May 2020
The Secretary of State has already made a personal statement to the House of Commons, and answered dozens of questions, which included contact with POCA and shielded customers, on 4 May 2020, following the Written Ministerial Statement by the Minister for Pensions tabled on the 27 April 2020.
Individuals in England who are in the shielded cohort, and who hold Post Office card accounts, will have received a call from the National Shielding Service. If this identified a potential concern over access to payments, the individual was transferred to the Department for Work and Pensions. In most cases that conversation could resolve concerns by use of processes such as changing method of payment. Where this did not happen the individual was called by a Department for Work and Pensions Visiting Officer, who would ensure the concern was resolved, in exceptional cases arranging for delivery of cash to the customer.
Where the Post Office was in conversation with a customer who fell into the above categories they passed that customer’s details to the Department for Work and Pensions for a call. The Post Office can, and has, also arranged for the delivery of cash to individuals via the Royal Mail Special Delivery Service.
In addition to the process outlined above, the Department for Work and Pensions is arranging for all customers in the above categories who are living alone to receive contact from a Visiting Officer or their local authority.
Shielding Post Office card account customers were identified by matching National Shielding Service data with that of the Department for Work and Pensions. Beyond National Shielding Service Post Office card account customers, any other customer may experience concerns about accessing their payments. Should any customers have concerns over access to their payments, they are advised and able to contact the DWP helplines (08007310469), or the Post Office helpline (03457223344) in the case of Post Office card account customers. There are a range of existing processes that can be used to address those concerns