Your Personal Public Service Number
Frequently Asked Questions on the PPS No.
Q1. What is my PPS No.?
A1. Your PPS No. is your Personal Public Service Number. It is a unique identifier for use in any transactions you may have with public bodies or persons authorised by those bodies to act on their behalf. Use of the number eliminates the possibility of confusing one person with another and makes it possible for public bodies to deal in a faster and more efficient manner with their customers.
Q2. How do I find out what my PPS No. is?
A2. Your PPS No. can be found on tax documents and it is often on correspondence from a social welfare or tax office. It may also be on your payslip.
Q3. I've looked for my number and I still can't find it – what should I do?
A3. You should contact your nearest or most convenient Social Welfare office. To find the address of your local offices consult the green pages of the telephone directory, or consult the DSFA website List of Local Offices.
Q4. I have just arrived in Ireland and don't have a number. How do I get one?
A4. You should contact your nearest or most convenient Social Welfare office who will assist you with the registration process. You will be asked to produce documentary evidence of identity and residence in this country. The complete list of documents required can be found on the DSFA website at www.welfare.ie/foi/cis_ppsallprocs.html
Q5. What is the format of the PPS No.?
A5. A PPS No. is always 7 numbers, and followed by either one or two letters. If there are two letters, the second letter is always a letter 'W'.
Q6. What am I supposed to use my PPS No. for?
A6. Your PPS No. should only be used in transactions with Government Departments and Agencies or persons or bodies that they have authorised to act on their behalf.(See Appendix B))
Q7. Who can ask me for my PPS No.?
A7. You can only be asked for your PPS No. by one of the agencies listed in Appendix B or by an authorised agent of one of these bodies. Your employer will also use your PPS No. for the purposes of advising Revenue and DSFA of your tax deductions and PRSI contributions.
Q8. What should I do if someone asks me for my PPS No?
A8. You should provide them with your number once you are satisfied that they are entitled to ask for it. In this regard you may find it helpful to refer to the list of agencies here. In any case of doubt, you should contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social and Family Affairs for clarification.
Q9. What do I do if someone who is not entitled to use the PPS No. asks me for it?
A9. If you believe that a person asking for your PPS No. is not entitled to do so, do not give them your number until you have contacted Client Identity Services of the Department of Social and Family Affairs, Gandon House, Amiens St, Dublin 1, Tel:704 3236 for advice. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q10. When should I not use my PPS No.?
A10. You should not use your PPS No. or Social Services Card in ordinary commercial transactions. For example, the number or the Social Services Card should not be requested by or given to a retailer as proof of identity or for any other reason when making a purchase, availing of a hiring service etc.
Q11. Can the Gardaí ask me for my PPS No.?
A11. Social Welfare legislation provides that members of An Garda Siochána and the Defence Forces are only entitled to use the PPS No. in respect of their own members. However, under the Immigration Act 2003 the PPS No. can be used by An Garda Siochána in respect of non-EU nationals.
Q12. Am I obliged to provide the number if a public body asks for it?
A12. Yes. Once an agency is entitled to use the number, a person who has a transaction with that agency must provide the number on request.
Q13. How come the banks were collecting the number when the SSIA scheme was being arranged?
A13. The banks were entitled to collect the PPS No. for the purposes of the Special Savings Incentive Account scheme and for that purpose only. The SSIA scheme is administered by the Department of Finance and the banks are acting as agents of that Department in this regard. Because the PPS No. is a unique identifier, using the PPS No. in connection with the scheme ensures that no one person can avail of the incentive more than once.
Q14. So can a bank or building society ask me for my PPS No. for any other reason?
A14. Yes. These would be where an account holder has a loan on which they are claiming tax relief on the interest paid, for example a mortgage or home improvement loan. In order that the Revenue Commissioners can correctly apply the Tax Relief at Source (TRS) provisions to such a loan, some Financial Institutions notify the interest details to Revenue using the PPS No. as a unique identifier. Note that not all Financial Institutions use the PPS No. in this regard.
The Regulations implementing the EU Taxation of Savings Income Directive require Financial Institutions (Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions etc.) to establish the identity of prospective customers. In order to comply with the document retention requirement contained in the Regulations, Financial Institutions may retain a manual record or a photocopy of a document containing the PPS Number. The PPS Number must not be recorded on the bank's computer system and the PPS Number must not be used by the bank for any other purpose.
Q15. Is it possible for me to get a new number?
A15. No. Once a PPS No. is allocated it is never changed. If you cannot find your PPS No. you should contact your nearest or most convenient Social Welfare Office for assistance.
To find the address of your local offices consult the green pages of the telephone directory, or consult the DSFA website List of Local Offices.
Q16. Is the PPS No. a National ID?
A16. No. The PPS No. is not a national identity. It is designed to be used as a service enabler for the purposes of public service administration. The number forms an essential element of your Public Service Identity (PSI) which provides a speedy efficient means of establishing identity for the purposes of access to and dealings with all public service bodies. The PSI comprises the PPS No. and a defined set of personal data. Your PSI is to be used exclusively in dealings with public bodies or with agents acting on behalf of public bodies.
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