Benefit Payment Methods

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 11th March 2013.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 2:30 pm, 11th March 2013

What arrangements his Department is making for benefit payments to people who are unable to receive them through a bank or building society account.

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

People who are unable to receive benefit payments through a bank or building society account are paid under the new simple payment. The service is easily accessible and is available free of charge and over the counter at more than 10,000 PayPoint outlets across the UK. The phased roll-out of simple payment began in October 2012 and we are closely monitoring the service to ensure that people can access their payments.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

I recently met a constituent of mine who wishes to receive his pension payment in cash but has had some difficulty in doing so since the transition from cheques to simple payment. What support is available for people such as my constituent?

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The contract is working very well across the board at the moment. About 99% of all claimants are getting their money as required at the right time, and 95% are within 1 mile of outlets, or within 5 miles in rural areas. It is, therefore, better than the previous system and it is also cheaper. The last cheque system cost £30 million and was defrauded to the cost of about £5 million; this costs about £7 million.

Immediate responsibility for the individual mentioned by my hon. Friend lies with PayPoint and the bank. They have a responsibility to ensure that cash is available at every location. We take them to task over that and they will have to make restitution.