HC Deb 26 January 2004 vol 417 cc106-8W
Mr. Wyatt

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements he has made for wheelchair users who cannot use their hands to collect benefits and pensions at post offices when using the new PIN card system. [150786]

Dr. Stoate

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements his Department has made to help partially sighted clients with post office card accounts, who have difficulty in using a PIN number, but do not wish to nominate another person to collect their money for them, to obtain their payments from the post office branch. [150998]

Mr. Pond

Our information campaign has an important role to play in the way we take customers through the changes, including collecting their money from their account at the post office if they wish. Customers will be supplied with information, which clearly sets out their 'account options' and enables them to freely choose the best account to suit their circumstances.

For some people, a card-based account may not be the most suitable option and they may prefer to use an account with a cheque book or building society pass book. If post office access is a priority, people in these circumstances can choose one of the accounts that are accessible at post office branches.

The Post Office is working to ensure its services are as accessible to as many customers as possible and is planning to make adjustments to the PIN pads installed in Post Office branches.

We have always recognised that there will be some people, such as those who cannot open or manage any sort of account that we cannot pay by Direct Payment. In consultation with a range of bodies representing those affected, we are developing an exceptions method

Number of Outstanding claims or not fully resolved
December 2003 December 2002 December 2001 December 2000
(a) the RP assessment of widows and widowers 5,702 1 1 1
(b) the RP assessment of those have experienced divorce 10,240 1 1 1
Total 15,942 10,604 4,457 3,831
(c) change of circumstances in RP assessments for those already pension age (bereaved customers) 20,293 4,782 1 1,825
1 Not available


1. Prior to December 2003 (a) and (b) RP claims were counted together.

2. Figures relating to (c) refer to a change in entitlement for a surviving spouse when one or both in a couple are in receipt of RP and one of the couple dies. We have no figures available for (c) in relation to Dec 2001 due to changes in organisational structure. NPC deals with other changes of circumstance to RP eg increases in RP due to a change in the customer's contribution record. These changes of circumstance are not included in the figures stated against (c) in the table.

Mr. Cummings

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many retired pensioners are using(a) post offices, (b) banks and (c) building societies to receive their pension in the Easington constituency. [148853]

Malcolm Wicks

The information is not available in the format requested.

However from information available as at 29 November 2003, in the Easington parliamentary constituency, the number of pensioners (women aged 60 and over, men aged 65 and over) who receive their state pension is given in the following table by type of method of payment.

Total paid at a post office, by either order book or post office card account 9,038
Paid direct to a bank or building society account (some of which can be accessed at post office branches) 3,685
Total number of state pensioners 12,723


IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. sample

Information available does not differentiate between bank and building society account for payments direct to accounts. No information is held as to the number of pensioners who receive payments direct to a normal or basic bank or building society accounts who then collect all or part of their pension at the Post Office.

The data exclude state pension recipients who receive state pension combined with another benefit and are paid through another benefit system.

of payment to meet the needs of people in these circumstances, which will be accessible at Post Office branches.

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