Your Personal Public Service (PPS) Number is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. The legislation governing the allocation and use of the PPS Number is contained in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). Only bodies specified under Social Welfare legislation or their agents can use the PPS Number.
Before you can be allocated a PPS Number, you must show that you need one for a transaction with a specified body. For example, if you are taking up employment, you need a PPS Number to register with the Revenue Commissioners. However, looking for work is not a transaction with a specified body and employers should not look for your PPS Number when recruiting. An employer should only seek a PPS Number if you are actually taking up employment with the organisation.
State agencies that are permitted to use PPS Numbers are listed here.
A PPS Number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or two letters.
The PPS Number was known as the Revenue and Social Insurance (RSI) number. If your number is the same as your spouse's number but your number has a W at the end, you may need a new PPS number - see 'Phasing out of W numbers' below for more information.
Using the Personal Public Service Number
A PPS number has already been issued to you if:
- You were born in Ireland in or after 1971
- You started work in Ireland after 1979
- You are getting a social welfare payment
- You are taking part in the Drugs Payment Scheme
How is the PPS Number used on a daily basis?
The PPS Number is used to access a wide variety of public services such as:
- Social Welfare Services
- Free Travel
- Pupil ID
- Public Health - including Medical Card and Drug Payment Schemes
- Child Immunisation
- Revenue Schemes - including Taxation and Mortgage Interest Relief
- Housing Grants
- Driver Theory Testing and Driver Licences
- Passport application/renewals
- Civil Registration Service – All Birth, Death, Marriage & Civil Partnership transactions
The Medical Card, GP Visit Card, Drugs Refund Payment Card and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) all contain the PPS Number which is then used by private health service professionals such as GPs, pharmacists, etc. in their engagement with the Primary Care Reimbursement Service of the HSE.
Other specific examples of bodies that collect and use the PPS No are as follows:
- The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free year of early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. This results in participating playschools and daycare services requiring the participating child’s PPS Number.
- Bus Éireann in administrating the School Transport Scheme on behalf of the Department of Education & Skills uses the PPS Number to identify the child and to confirm their identity in all individual cases and to avoid unnecessary duplication of resources which could otherwise occur by providing more than one seat on more than one service for the same child.
- The National Cancer Registry Office use the PPS Number to invite people for routine screenings, for e.g. Breastcheck.
- The Personal Injuries Assessment Board uses the PPS Number to verify the identity of claimants, who make claims for personal injury compensation, so that the Board can verify the benefits paid to them and ensure their losses are correctly calculated.
- Quality and Qualifications Ireland uses the PPS Number as a unique identifier for each registered learner and facilitates learners' access, transfer and progression through further education. Therefore, QQI requires all QQI Providers (both public and private) to register all learners seeking QQI certification or leading to QQI Awards, using their PPS Number.
- The Private Security Authority is the statutory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the Irish private security industry. The individual's PPS Number is used as a unique identifier to distinguish between licence applications received.
- The Property Services Regulatory Authority use the PPS Number for recording, and verifying personal details on all license applications (new and renewals).
- Enterprise Ireland use the PPS Number both as a unique identifier and as the principal means of validating clients who are seeking funding from the organisation where a company has not been formed and therefore there is no CRO number.
There are a number of examples of bodies (under other legislation) that are allowed use the PPS Number such as:
- An employer can ask for an employee’s PPS Number for transacting with Revenue.
- Since 1st January 2009, financial institutions are required to make all reasonable efforts to seek the PPS Number of all persons opening a new account in accordance with the Return of Payments Regulations (S.I. No 136 of 2008), however, see here: https://www.dataprotection.ie/docs/Use-of-PPSN/1247.htm
- Under the Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, Health Insurance Providers can request relevant information in relation to an insured person including the PPS Number of the person.
Phasing out of W numbers
Before 2000 when some women got married they had to use the same PPS number as their husband, but with a W at the end of the number. This W number was issued by Revenue to identify spouses in a jointly assessed relationship. The W number was linked to the PPS number of the assessable spouse (which is the term used in Revenue for the spouse who is charged tax on the income of both spouses).
These numbers are being slowly phased out and W numbers have not been issued since 1999.
If your PPS number is the same as your husband’s PPS number but the last letter is W, you must get a new PPS number in these circumstances:
- If your spouse is deceased
- If you are divorced or separated
- If you were issued with a Social Insurance number before 1979
If you have a PPS number ending with W and you cannot access the Local Property Tax online system using this number you may need to request a new number.
If you were issued a PPS number after 1979 and before you married, the Department may re-issue you with your original number on request.
If you are changing your W number for a new PPS number you do not need to go through the same application process as everyone else. To get your new number or to be re-instated with your old number contact the Client Identity Section in the Department of Social Protection. The phone number is 1890 927 999 or (071) 967 2616.
When you get your new number from the Department of Social Protection you should inform any organisations that may hold your old number. For example, your employer, your bank, the National Driver Licence Service, the HSE and Revenue – you can inform Revenue of your new PPS Number using Form 12A (pdf).
I'm moving to Ireland soon - how do I get a Personal Public Service Number?
You cannot apply for a PPS number before you arrrive in Ireland. You must be living in Ireland to apply for a PPS number. Before you can be allocated a PPS number, you must show that one is required for a transaction with a specified body.
You will be asked to produce documentary evidence of identity and residence in Ireland. Different documentary evidence will be required, depending on your nationality. A complete list of documents required as evidence of your identity is available.
I am not resident in Ireland but I need a PPS number - how do I get it?
In some cases people who are not resident in Ireland may need a PPS number. For example, someone who is a beneficiary under an Irish will may need to supply a PPS number before a grant of probate can issue.
The Department of Social Protection's Client Identity Services (CIS) provide a service for non-resident applicants who cannot attend at a designated PPS Registration Centre and who need a PPS number. If you want to use this service, you must show documentary evidence that you need a PPS number for a transaction with a specified body. You cannot use this exceptional application process if you are living in or intend to relocate to Ireland for any period of time. Audits of PPS applications are carried out periodically and you may be asked for additional information.
If you are living in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom and are working in the Republic of Ireland (a frontier worker) you apply for a PPS number in the normal way at a designated PPS Registration Centre.
I need a PPS number for a deceased person - how do I get this?
Occasionally a PPS number may be required for a deceased person, usually when dealing with grant of probate.
In such cases, you should send a copy of the death certificate and details about why the PPS number is required to the Department of Social Protection's Client Identity Services - the address is below.
To get a PPS
number, you will need to fill out an application form in the PPS Number centre,
provide evidence of your identity, evidence of why you require a PPS Number to
be allocated, and also provide proof of your address.
Evidence of your identity
|If you are:
||You will need to produce the following as evidence of your identity:|
|An Irish citizen born in the Republic of Ireland
- Photographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence
|An Irish citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration
- Your current passport or Certificate of Naturalisation
- Your Foreign Birth Registration certificate and Irish or UK driving licence or Irish learner driving permit
|An Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland or a UK citizen
- Your birth certificate showing your mother’s birth name or adoption certificate and current driving licence
|EU citizens (other than Irish and UK)
||Current passport or national identity card|
||Current passport |
Evidence of your address
You need to show evidence of your address. You can use any of the following documents to do this (it must show your name and address):
- A household utility bill
- An official letter/document
- A financial statement
- Property lease or tenancy agreement,
- Verifiable employer's letter*
- Confirmation of address by a third party such as a school principal/administrator, accommodation/property owner**or manager.
*Your employer does not need to own or provide the accommodation.
**If you are staying with friends or relatives an original household bill plus a note from the bill holder confirming your residency at the bill address is acceptable. This note can be written on the bill itself.
Children born in Ireland are usually given a Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) when their birth is registered with the General Register Office (GRO). This means you do not need to apply for a PPS number for an Irish-born child.
However a PPS number is not automatically allocated if both parents' addresses are outside of the State. If you need a PPS number in such a case then you must apply at a PPS number allocation centre.
PPS numbers for children living in, but not born in Ireland, must be applied for by the parent/guardian. One of the parents/guardians must have a PPS number for the child to be registered and linked with their data.
The parent, foster parent, guardian, or school representative should attend with the child, and provide evidence of his/her own identity, the identity of the child, evidence of the requirement for a PPS number, and evidence of the relationship between the parent/guardian and the child. Evidence of address should also be provided. The Department of Social Protection may make further enquiries where it is considered necessary to confirm the relationship between the child and the person requesting a PPS number.
A person aged less than 16 years is considered to be a child for PPS number allocation purposes.
PPS number fraud control
The Department of Social Protection monitors identity fraud issues, helps to draw up procedures for processing applications and investigates suspect documents. Staff in social welfare offices are required to check the authenticity of supporting documents and refer doubtful cases for checking by document fraud experts.
How to apply
Only the Department of Social Protection can provide you with a Personal Public Service Number (PPS number) . You can find a list of the social welfare local offices that can register PPS numbers on the Department of Social Protection's website. Please note that some offices operate an appointment only system. You should contact the office to check if an appointment is required. A Public Services Card is usually issued when you are allocated a PPS number. This means that you will also have your photograph taken when you attend an office for registration of a new PPS number. It will take approximately 4-5 days for notification of your PPS number to arrive after your appointment.
If you want to get a PPS number or to be registered for a Public Services Card, you can now make an appointment online at mywelfare.ie.
You will first need to register with the site. To do this you need a mobile phone number and two email addresses (a main address and an alternate address).
When you have made your appointment, print the notification and bring it to your appointment along with the required documents (listed in the notification).
A list of offices offering an online appointment booking system is available here.
If you do not know your PPS number, contact your Intreo centre or social welfare local office and staff there can find your number for you.
If you are unsure as to whether a particular organisation, person or agent is entitled to request or use your PPS number, you should contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection. You can contact Client Identity Services using the secure online request form or by phone at 1890 927 999 or (071) 967 2616.
Change of address
If you change your address you should write to the Department of Social Protection at the address below giving your name, PPS number, old and new address and evidence of your new address such as a utility bill. The Department will then update your record.
Client Identity Services
Department of Social Protection
Locall:1890 927 999