I propose to take Questions Nos. 433 and 434 together.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a person who required a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) attended an office of my Department for SAFE registration.
The SAFE registration process involves the authentication of a person's identity in a face-to-face interview, and the subsequent issuing of a Public Services Card (PSC).
Face-to-face services were disrupted during 2020 due to the pandemic, and my Department introduced an online application service for Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) applications. This service was introduced to ensure that those who need a PPSN can have their application dealt with, even in the event of office closures as a result of COVID-19 public health measures.
In May 2021, SAFE registrations resumed across my Department's network of offices for PSC appointments and certain offices have resumed SAFE registration for PPSN applicants as well as PSC appointments. SAFE registrations for PPSN applicants will resume in all offices following the lifting of public health restrictions.
In 2021, the Department received from individuals residing in Ireland, approximately 97,500 online applications for a PPSN, of which there are currently in the region of 6,400 applications that are pending a decision, 1,500 of which are awaiting further detail and information from the applicant.
The average timeline for processing PPSN applications was approximately two weeks during December in most of the Department’s regions. The average processing time is in the order of 4 to 5 weeks across the Dublin, Cork and North East regions. However, the Department can confirm that additional resources have been assigned to deal with PPSN applications, and that this increased capacity will reduce the number of applications currently pending and improve the waiting time to receive a PPSN.
The number of PPSNs issued to persons on a monthly basis for the past five years are set out in the table below (please note that for the years 2017-2020 it is not possible to exclude the figures for PPSNs issued to new-born children born in the state).
PPS Nos. issued
I trust this clarifies the matter at this time.