Government agencies, including the pension service, the child support agency and disability and carers service, are mounting a new campaign to collect bank account details.
The many recipients still being paid by cheque are again being harassed with a letter headed 'changing the way we pay your benefits'.
They hope to do away with cheque payments by April 1, 2010, which is the same date that the contract for the Post Office card accounts expires.
If this is successful and the contract for a card account is taken away from the Post Office, that will pave the way for many more post office closures.
Gazette readers will recall that during the last direct payment campaign Chris Pond, then Pensions Minister, admitted: 'It is not compulsory for a customer to be paid by direct payment' (Direct Payment not compulsory - Gazette, April 29, 2005).
Many however signed up to it, because although they did not want to and legally they did not need to, they were led to believe they had to.
Those in receipt of the current government agency letter have the legal right to do nothing. They will continue to be sent their money.
For those already receiving their payment direct to bank they are legally entitled to revert to cheque payment. The regulations under which payments are made state that the arrangement for payment direct to bank accounts may be terminated by the person entitled to the benefit, or a person acting on his behalf, by notice in writing delivered or sent to an appropriate office. (Statutory Instrument 1987 No 1968 Regulation 21 (5).
That may be more successful in saving a few post offices than signing a petition.