Cash delivery payments are now available for the most vulnerable individuals thanks to the Post Office in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The cash payments are available to the DWP to use to support their most vulnerable customers, initially in England, who are shielding because of the risk of infection should they leave their home.
The National Shielding Service is a working partnership with DWP that enables contact to be made with specific customers to determine if they need to receive a cash payment to be delivered.
When notified by DWP of those individuals who require a cash delivery, the Post Office will ensure cash is sent to their home using Royal Mail Special Delivery and that it arrives by 9pm the following day. This means that those individuals who must avoid leaving the home because of the risk of infection receive the cash that they need.
The Post Office has repurposed part of its foreign exchange cash delivery business to enable the overnight delivery of sterling cash and meet demand.
Guy Opperman, the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said:
"We’re doing whatever it takes to ensure people are supported through these unprecedented times. This joint initiative enables us to reach out directly to those most likely to need support, and get cash delivered to their door where necessary.
“Thanks to the hard work of DWP and Post Office staff, vulnerable customers can rest assured there is help available if they need it."
Nick Read, Chief Executive at the Post Office, said:
“I am delighted that Post Office has been able to switch its travel money delivery business to get cash directly to those that need it most. Working with the DWP we are able to help some of the most vulnerable in our society, including those who have been asked to shield themselves at home, with the ability to deliver cash directly to their door.”
Postal Affairs Minister, Paul Scully, said:
“Vulnerable people may be self-isolating but they are not alone.
“This vital service will ensure the Government can get cash to people that need it, without them having to leave their homes. I want to thank postmasters and their teams for their continued hard work to support our communities across the UK.”
This new cash delivery option has initially been made available to those POCA customers who are shielding at home and are the most at risk from the virus.
There are around 27,000 Post Office Card Account (POCA) customers to whom this could applyand they are being actively contacted to ensure they are able to regularly access their payments.
This service adds to the range of measures the DWP can use to support these individuals shielding at home, providing a last-option mechanism for customers to receive cash who cannot visit their normal payment location.
Earlier this week, the Post Office announced details of two its access to cash products – ‘Fast PACE’ and ‘Payout Now’ had been made available to the UK’s banks, building societies and credit unions. These products can be offered to their customers who are self-isolating and require cash. The Post Office is considering how to make its new cash delivery service available to the UK’s financial institutions and who can offer it to their customers. Post Office customers can see how coronavirus may affect Post Office services on its website and can find the latest information on the Post Office Card Account and branch opening hours on its Branch Finder.