§ Mr. Steen
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance is given to local job centre offices on responding to inquiries made by recipients of benefits and retirement pension who wish to continue collecting their payments by cash rather than direct payment; what the eligibility criteria will be for those who wish to join the Exceptions Service; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Pond
Direct payment is now the normal method of payment. The Department provides Jobcentre Plus staff with the factual information they need to give to customers, in order for customers themselves to choose the account which best meets their needs and circumstances.
All existing customers, not yet paid by direct payment, are being contacted to invite them to provide account details. Customers who advise the Department that they are unable to open or manage an account will be paid by cheque payment.
The cheque payment is only intended for those customers who we cannot pay by direct payment; it is not an alternative payment option.