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Pensions

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioners access their pension through the Post Office; how many and what proportion received their pension (a) on or before 21 December 2007 and (b) on or by 24 December 2007; how many pensioners did not receive or were unable to access their pension on or before 24 December 2007; and if he will make a statement; (185876)

(2) how many and what percentage of pensioners did not (a) receive, (b) pick up and (c) cash their state pension before Christmas 2007.

The vast majority (around 8.6 million) of pensioners have their pension paid by direct payment into a bank account and those who were due a payment at Christmas were able to access their money from cash machines at any time over the holiday period. It is possible to access money in other bank accounts at the Post Office, as well as the Post Office Card Account and cheque payments, but the Department does not hold data on how many pensioners choose to do so.

The arrangements put in place to make sure that everyone received their money before Christmas worked well and around 5.4 million (60 per cent.) pensioners due to be paid over Christmas were able to access their money on Friday 21 December. The remaining around 3.6 million (40 per cent.) were able to access their money on Monday 24 December.

The information about the number of pensioners who did not subsequently collect their state pension before Christmas is not available.

The Department is reviewing its arrangements for payments due over the Christmas period.