Written Answers. - Special Savings Incentive Scheme.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

108 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the reasons a person's PPS number cannot be confirmed by use of their drugs refund payment card; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many, particularly older persons, were refused the scheme due to the fact they did not have a P60; the nature of documentation the Revenue Commissioners required from the banks; the advice which was given to banks in relation to collecting information on PPS numbers; if the Revenue Commissioners specifically ruled out the drugs refund card as adequate confirmation for an applicant's PPS number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15241/02]

Special savings incentive accounts are managed by qualifying savings managers who operate the scheme under the guidance of the Revenue Commissioners. I understand that all qualified savings managers are registered with the Revenue Commissioners and were issued with a detailed set of guidelines setting out among other things the registration procedure for each new account and the steps that need to be taken to validate the personal details for each person opening an SSIA.

Prior to commencing an SSIA, an individual must have completed an application form giving personal details including name, address, date of birth and PPS number. The qualifying savings manager must have ensured that the PPS number quoted is valid and is appropriate to the person opening the account. To this end, the Revenue Commissioners set out in the guidelines the official documents that can be accepted by the qualified savings managers as confirmation of the PPS number. The official documents include a social welfare services card, a pension book, an item of previous correspondence from the Department of Social and Family Affairs, a PAYE notice of determination of tax credits, a payslip from the individual's employer with the PPS number quoted, an income tax return form or a notice of assessment issued by the Revenue Commissioners, a P60 or P45 issued by an employer or previous correspondence issued by the Revenue Commissioners where the PPS number is quoted. Where none of the above documents was available, the person opening the account was advised to contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs who would arrange to issue written confirmation of their PPS number. The qualified savings managers are in turn obliged to retain a copy of the document used to verify the PPS number.
I understand from the Revenue Commissioners that the drugs refund card referred to by the Deputy was not considered as adequate confirmation of a person's PPS number as the number quoted does not always relate to the particular individual involved. Where a family is concerned, the same PPS number, that of the head of the family, is used for all family members. All qualifying savings managers were notified of this in June 2001.