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Simple payments

 

MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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Client physically disabled, has 24/7 PAs whom she employs. On DLA/ESA.  Successfully argued last year for weekly payments due to difficulty accessing money fortnightly (as large amount) from McColls.

DWP have now told her Simple payments will end and she must open bank account. We have argued (Tier 1 complaint) that this is not accessible as she can’t use cashpoint and is not always able to get to bank due to health. She uses cash and wants to be able to access her money weekly.  She is not happy to give pin no to a number of PAs especially as not always regular employees. This is in direct conflict with bank’s policy and leaves her wide open for financial abuse.  Have mentioned reasonable adjustments.

Now had the following response: (not even signed by a person)
Thank you for your letter regarding the closure of the Simple Payment Account. According to our guidance we will need a replacement account for your benefit.

If it is not viable for you to set up a bank account for yourself see the following options.

1.  You can enquire about an application for a Post Office Card Account - the helpline number for this is 08457223344 or you can contact us on the telephone number above to initiate this.

2.  You can supply us with details of an account belonging to a friend or relative who is happy for your benefit to be paid into their account. I have enclosed DPGEN form to provide these details should you choose to do this.

3.  If you are unable to look after your own financial affairs then please contact us on the telephone number above regarding somebody acting on your behalf in regards to your benefit claim.

As we see it PO account has the same problems i.e pin number required,  she does not want a ‘friend’ to withdraw her money weekly and does not have anyone who would want to take on this role and she is able to look after her own affairs (she is an employer) in all aspects apart from physically withdrawing the money.

Can’t find anything in regs about how a claimant is paid )although have to admit not my strong point!)
Any suggestions for a tier 2 complaint gratefully received
Thanks

     
Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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Are they actually stopping her simple payments?

I know that the DWP have been sending letters out to claimants advising them that it is imperative that they go out and get a proper bank account (to wit: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/10987/) but as far as I know this is just “nudge theory” and no actual positive steps are being taken to stop issuing simple payments to claimants who already receive them. Simple payments are still advertised on gov.uk and we are still seeing new cases where they are used.

     
MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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Elliot, why are you looking at Rightsnet that late?!
They have told her if she does’t take action by a certain date (mid Nov if I remember) then payments will stop but not sure whether it is scare tactics or not.  The question is does she take the risk? Will they really stop payments? Will have to discuss further with her..

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and Advice Resources, Age UK

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As Elliot says, details of simple payments are still on gov.uk, with nothing stating they’re finishing anytime soon.

Maybe call the Simple Payment helpline Telephone: 0845 600 0046 and see what their view is?

     
Daphne
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You might find this written answer in parliament yesterday helpful -

If claimants do not have a suitable bank account however, DWP would pay via an alternative method of payment (such as Post office card, via simple payments or to a third party) in order not to delay payment.

     
Mark R
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Pathways Advice, Mental Health Matters, Gateshead

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Further to Maggie’s scenario above have just had a call from a client with exactly the same situation.  DWP called him and advised that his weekly simple payments for ESA were ending in the next two months (no deadline, just a vague reference) and that he would need to make arrangements to deal with fortnightly payments into an account.  He has difficulty budgeting due to mental health issues and a learning disability which is why we helped set up weekly payments for him a few years ago.

- Is this now a new stated policy to move people to fortnightly account payments?  Any info out there?
- How did your complaint work out Maggie?

Will be following up with DWP next week but just wanted to check if there’s been any announcements on this.

Many thanks.