PPS Number - FAQ's

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Your Personal Public Service Number Logo

If you have a query regarding your PPS Number please contact:
Client Identity Services,
Department of Social Protection,
Social Welfare Services,
Shannon Lodge,
County Leitrim

Telephone: 01-7043281
Email: cis@welfare.ie

Q1. What is my PPS Number?

A1. Your PPS Number 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 operate more efficiently and effectively with their customers.

Q2. How do I know if I already have a PPS Number?

A2. It is possible that you already have a PPS Number. A PPS Number may already have issued to you if:
• you were born in Ireland during or after 1971
• you started work in Ireland after April 1979
• you are receiving a Social Welfare payment
• you are participating in the Drugs Payment Scheme
If you have a Revenue and Social Insurance (RSI) number already, it doesn't change - just the name will be different.

Q3. How do I find out what my PPS Number is?

A3. Your PPS Number 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.

Q4. I have looked for my number and I still can't find it-what should I do?

A4. You should contact your Social Welfare Local Office. To find the address or contact number of your local office, consult the Department’s website.

Q5. I have just arrived in Ireland and don't have a number. How do I get one?

A5. You should contact your Social Welfare Local Office who will assist you with the registration process. To find the address or contact number of your local office consult the Department’s website. You will be asked to produce documentary evidence of identity and evidence as to why you require a PPS Number. See section on “How to Apply”

Q6. What is the format of PPS Number?

A6. A PPS Number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or two letters.

Q7. Who can ask me for my PPS Number?

A7. You can only be asked for your PPS Number by one of the agencies listed in the Register of Users or by an authorised agent of one of these bodies. Your employer will also use your PPS Number for the purposes of advising Revenue and Department of Social Protection of your tax deductions and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions.

Q8. What should I do if someone asks me for my PPS Number?

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 Protection for clarification.

Q9. What do I do if someone who is not entitled to use the PPS Number asks me for it?

A9. If you believe that a person asking for your PPS Number is not entitled to do so, do not give them your number until you have contacted Client Identity Services of the Department of Social Protection, Social Wefare Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim (Telephone 01-7043281) for advice. You can also email Client Identity Services at cis@welfare.ie

Q10. When should I not use my PPS Number?

A10. You should not use your PPS Number or Social Services Card in ordinary commercial transactions. For example, the PPS Number or the Public 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 Number?

A11. Social Welfare legislation provides that members of An Garda Siochána and the Defence Forces are only entitled to use the PPS Number in respect of their own members. However, under the Immigration Act 2003 the PPS Number can be used by An Garda Siochána in respect of non-EU nationals.

Q12. Am I obliged to provide the PPS Number if a public body asks for it?

A12. Yes. Once an agency is entitled to use the PPS Number, a person who has a transaction with that agency must provide the number on request.

Q13. So can a bank or building society ask me for my PPS Number for any other reason?

A13. 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 Number as a unique identifier. Note that not all Financial Institutions use the PPS Number 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. While financial institutions are obliged to ask for the PPS Number, it does not have to be provided, and account opening should proceed if it is not given. See the Website of the Data Protection Commissioner here: https://www.dataprotection.ie/docs/Use-of-PPSN/1247.htm

Q14. Is it possible for me to get a new PPS Number?

A14.  No, generally once a PPS Number is allocated it remains unchanged unless there is a material change in your circumstances or status. Historically, on marriage, the female partner in a relationship assumed her husband’s number with the letter “W” appended. The policy has since changed to ensure that every individual holds a unique PPS Number. Where the female partner had a PPS Number in her own right prior to marriage this number will be reactivated. If a pre-marriage number did not exist a new number will, be assigned. Any holders of a PPS Number ending with the letter “W” may contact Client Identity Services Division of this Department to arrange a new PPS number.

Q15. Is the PPS Number a National ID?

A15. No. The PPS Number is not a national identity number. 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 and efficient means of establishing identity for the purposes of access to and dealings with all public service bodies. The PSI comprises the PPS Number 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.


You can contact Client Identity Services at

Department of Social Protection,
Social Welfare Services,
Shannon Lodge,
County Leitrim

Telephone: 01-7043281
LoCall: 1890 927999
If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call + 353 1 7043281

The rates charged for using 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers.

Email: cis@welfare.ie

Last modified:08/11/2019



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