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Extra resources promised to clear backlog of nearly 5,000 PPS number applications

One man waiting nearly two months for his PPSN said the wait had left him financial difficulty.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection has said it will put extra resources in place to deal with a backlog of nearly 5,000 applications for Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSNs).

The delays in processing applications have left many, mostly foreign nationals who need a PPSN to work, concerned about paying bills and even staying in the country.

One Brazilian exchange student told The Journal that he applied for his PPSN back in early December and has yet to receive any official communication from the Department updating him on the status of the application.

He said he fears losing the job he recently secured and is already having financial difficulties.

“As an exchange student, as soon as you’re able, you have to do the appointment for your Visa, and that’s crucial. So as soon as you get your Visa, you’re able to work in Ireland, but in order to receive your full payment, you need to have a PPSN, which allows you to get paid properly,” he said.

“Many jobs require the PPSN for you to work there, but if you came to Ireland to do a language course you can only get a PPSN by an employer’s letter.

“Sometimes it seems like you’re limbo, you have to have a PPS Number to work, and you need a job to get a PPS Number.”

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) confirmed that additional resources had recently been assigned to deal with the backlog of PPSN applications. The DSP said that the average processing time is currently 4 to 5 weeks across the Dublin and Cork regions.

According to a DSP spokesperson, the Department will continue to engage with employer representative groups to expedite PPSN applications where they are required by applicants seeking to take up employment in Ireland.

“As of the end of December, there were in the region of 4,900 applications pending a decision. In the case of some 1,500 applications, the Department was awaiting further detail and information from the applicant,” the spokesperson said.

“Incomplete applications can, as you can understand, affect the processing time. The average timeline for processing PPSN applications was approximately two weeks during December across most of the Department’s regions. The average processing time is in the order of 4 to 5 weeks across the Dublin and Cork regions.”

Left in limbo

The man who spoke with The Journal said it was only through Twitter that he received a response from the Department, “but still they couldn’t help me”.

Others awaiting a response on their PPSN application also took to social media to reach out to the Department.

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One user tweeted: “I just can’t afford paying rent anymore while on emergency tax. My application says it is being reviewed by an officer for weeks. Please help.”

Another user said they applied over two months ago, urging the Department to “help me please” as they secure a job.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said there are a lot of knockdown impacts of not having your PPS number so it’s really important that the resources put in place to deal with backlogs are sufficient.

“People have waited long enough for this to be sorted, and it’s important that this is cleared as quickly as possible,” Whitmore told The Journal.

She added: “It shouldn’t be the case that people have to take to Twitter to find out where their application is… because in the absence of information you really are leaving people in limbo with this.”

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Adam Daly

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