Written answers

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Personal Public Service Numbers

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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556. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the processing times for PPS number applicants pre-Covid-19; and the new processing times since the pandemic began. [36979/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The SAFE registration process, which involves the authentication of a person's identity in a face-to-face interview, is the normal method of processing an application for a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN).  Once a person has successfully completed SAFE registration, their Public Services Card, containing their PPSN, is posted to them in about five working days.

At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, my Department temporarily suspended the SAFE registration process. This decision was taken in order to comply with HSE and World Health Organisation guidelines in respect of social distancing.

To help ensure that those who required a PPSN could get one, my Department introduced an email and postal service through which applications could be made.

My Department has received, and continues to receive, significant volumes of email and post in relation to PPSN applications from people living in and outside the State. Data on the processing times of these applications are not currently available.

It is inevitably the case that a temporary process such as this will not be as efficient as the face-to-face process it has temporarily replaced, neither for applicants nor for the staff dealing with those applications.

Additional resources have been reassigned to deal with email and postal PPSN applications.  I expect this will result in improved processing times and a reduction in the number of applications in hands. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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