Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

128. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is obligatory for persons in receipt of social welfare payments including job seeker’s benefit to have a valid public services card issued by her Department; the reason for this rule; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59382/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Section 241 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) provides that it shall be a condition of any person’s right to benefit that they, inter alia, satisfy the Minister as to their identity.

The Act also provides (in section 247C) that a person in receipt of any social welfare benefit must satisfy the Minister as to their identity, when requested to do so. The list of benefits set out in legislation for the purpose of these provisions includes jobseeker's benefit.

The SAFE registration process is the process through which a person satisfies the Minister as to their identity.  Once their identity is verified in this way, they are issued with a Public Services Card (PSC) which can be used as proof of their identity when dealing with public service bodies.

These provisions are in place to ensure my Department establishes the identity of all persons to whom it makes a payment and helps to deter, detect, and reduce the incidence of identity fraud.

In their 2019 Report into the processing of personal data in relation to SAFE registration processing, the Data Protection Commission found that my Department has a legal basis for the processing of such data and for the issuing of a PSC for the purpose of authenticating the identity of a person claiming, presenting for or receiving a social welfare benefit. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.