Date of screening: 06/01/2020
Screening Outcome - Full EQIA recommended: No
The Department for Communities (DfC) has an obligation to decide on entitlement to benefit, discharge and issue payment on time. DfC’s Method of Payment policy is to make benefits or pension payments directly into a standard account. Because some customers are unable to access or manage a mainstream account, payment exceptions services are made available by DfC.
This obligation is currently met by two payment exception services, the Post Office Card Account (POca) and the HMG Payment Exception Service (HMG PES). The POca contract is due to end in November 2021 and the HMG PES contract is due to end in September 2020 with an option to extend to September 2021. It is the intention of the Department that the contracts for both POca and HMG PES will end and a single, replacement, payment exceptions ‘voucher’ service will be introduced.