Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (554)

Éamon Ó Cuív


554. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection when an application by a person (details supplied) for PPS numbers will be processed; the reason for the delay in processing the application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38016/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I can confirm that my Department has allocated Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSNs) to the individuals referred to by the Deputy. Letters issued on 17th and 23rd November 2020 with details of the PPSNs.

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).

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.

My Department did not, however, suspend PPSN allocations. 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.

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 assigned to this work and I expect this will result in improved processing times and a reduction in the number of applications on hand.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.