Just weeks left for thousands of Brits to avoid having child benefit or tax credits payments STOPPED – what to do
THOUSANDS of Brits on benefits have just weeks to switch accounts or risk their payments being stopped.
Anyone who gets payments from HMRC including child benefit or tax credits paid into an account with the Post Office has until 5 April to switch, before the accounts are closed.
Payments to Post Office accounts from the DWP including Universal Credit and State Pension are also due to end, but the deadline to switch accounts has already been extended to November 2022.
This is because the Post Office's contracts with HMRC and the DWP are coming to an end.
Post Office accounts are designed for people who don't have a bank account.
But anyone who gets the above payments will need to open one, or tell HMRC details of an account they already have.
If you don't do this, then payments will be stopped until a new place for them to be paid into is provided.
Around 382,000 people still use a Post Office card account, which can be used to withdraw funds with no fees or charges.
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The Post Office first introduced card accounts in 2003 as a replacement for old state pension "order books".
The service closed for new benefit claimants last year.
When will my Post Office account close?
For anyone getting payment from HMRC – like child benefit – accounts will close on 5 April.
Anyone getting payments from the DWP – like Universal Credit – will have their account closed by November.
You can get your payment moved to another account now though, you don't have to wait until the deadline.
If you don't update your payment details by these dates, benefits to the accounts will stop and so you could miss out on money you need.
Make sure you withdraw any remaining cash you have in your Post Office account before these dates too.
If you get payments from both the DWP and HMRC, you still need to update HMRC with new account details first as the date is earlier.
How do I get my benefit payments after Post Office accounts close?
You need to let HMRC know about your new bank account.
You can do this by updating your Personal Tax Account or child benefit account online at gov.uk or by calling 0300 200 3100.
Anyone getting tax credits can change their account details online via gov.uk by calling the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900.
You should also have received a letter from HMRC with information on how to update your details.
If you don't tell HMRC by this date, you'll get the payments you're owed once you do notify them.
For anyone unable to open a bank account, the government Payment Exceptions Service can be used.
This is a payment card, voucher by email, or text message containing a unique reference number that can be used to access benefit payments from PayPoint outlets which are in shops and newsagents.
You'll need to speak to your local benefits office to get this set up or respond to the letter about Post Office card account closures you got from the HMRC.
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