Personal Public Service number
What is a Personal Public Service (PPS) number?
Your Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a unique reference number that helps you access social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland.
A PPS Number is always 7 numbers followed by either one or 2 letters. It is sometimes called a PPSN.
You have a PPS number 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
Where can I find my PPS number?
PPS numbers are printed on the following documents:
- Public Services Card
- Social Services Card
- Drugs Payment Scheme Card
- Medical Card
- GP visit card
- European Health Insurance Card
- Tax Assessment
- PAYE Notice of Tax Credits
- Temporary Payment Card
If you do not know your PPS number, contact your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and staff there can find your number for you.
What if I have a W Number?
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 the following circumstances:
- Your spouse is deceased
- You are divorced or separated
- You were issued with a Social Insurance number before 1979
You can contact Client Identity Services (see below) for assistance. Read more about the phasing out of W Numbers.
Using my PPS number
You need your PPS number when you are using certain public services. There are only certain services that are allowed to ask for your PPS number.
For example, if you are starting work, you need a PPS number to register with the Revenue Commissioners. However, when you are looking for work employers should not ask for your PPS number when recruiting. An employer should ask for your PPS number if you are actually taking up employment with the company.
You can use your PPS number for:
- All social welfare services
- The Free Travel Pass
- Pupil ID
- Public health services, including the medical card and the Drugs Payment Scheme
- Child immunisation
- Schemes run by the Revenue Commissioners, such as mortgage interest relief
- Housing grants
- Driver theory testing and driving licences
If you are unsure whether a particular organisation, person or agent is allowed to ask for or use your PPS number, you should contact Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection - see ‘Client Identity Services' below.
Rules for getting a PPS number
To get a PPS number, you must show proof of:
- Your identity
- Why you need a PPS number
- Your address
Proof 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||Your birth certificate
andPhotographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence
|An Irish citizen via naturalisation or Foreign Birth Registration||Your current passport or Certificate of Naturalisation
orYour 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||Current passport
orYour birth certificate showing your mother’s birth name and current driving licence
|EU citizens (other than Irish and UK)||Current passport or national identity card|
|Non-EU citizens||Current passport|
Proof of your address
You need to show evidence of your address. You can use any of the following documents to do this (the document must show your name and address and not be older than 3 months):
- A household utility bill
- An official letter/document
- A financial statement
- Property lease or tenancy agreement
- Confirmation of address by a third party such as a hotel/hostel administrator or manager, school principal/administrator or accommodation/property owner*
*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.
If you change your address
If you have your PPS number and a verified MyGovID then you can update your address using MyWelfare.ie.
If you change your address and you don't have a verified MyGovID, you should write to the DSP 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.
You can scan your completed forms and email or post to Client Identity Services (see address below).
Getting a PPS number for a child
A person who is under 18 years of age is considered a child for PPS number applications.
Children born in Ireland are given a PPS number if they are registered with the General Register Office (GRO) within 3 months of their birth. In this case, you do not need to apply for your child’s PPS number.
You must apply for a child’s PPS number if:
- The child’s birth is not registered within 3 months
- The child is born in Ireland and both parents’ addresses are outside Ireland
- The child is living in Ireland, but not born in Ireland
One of the parents/guardians must have a PPS number for the child to be registered and linked with their data.
To get a PPS number for a child, a parent/guardian should attend a PPS number allocation centre with the child and provide proof of:
- Their own identity
- The child’s identity
- The need for a PPS number
- The relationship between the parent/guardian and the child
- Their address
PPS number for a child uses form REG1M (pdf).
How to apply for a PPS number
When you apply online, you need to upload:
- A copy of your photo identity document (passport, driving licence, ID card etc.) If you do not have valid documents, you should provide whatever ID documents that you do have.
- Proof of why you need a PPS number
- Proof of your address
The documents you upload must be easy to read.
Applying from outside Ireland
You can apply for a PPS number if you are living outside Ireland and need a PPS number for an interaction with a specified body in Ireland. For example, someone who is a beneficiary under an Irish will may need to provide a PPS number before a grant of probate can issue.
The DSP's Client Identity Services (CIS) provides a service for non-resident applicants who need a PPS number and cannot attend at a designated PPS Registration Centre.
You cannot use this service, if you are living in or intend to relocate to Ireland for any period of time.
If you are living in Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom and are working in Ireland (a cross-border worker), you must apply for a PPS number at a designated PPS Number Allocation Centre.
You can find more information about applying for a PPS number from outside Ireland on gov.ie.
How do I get a PPS number for a person who has died?
Sometimes, a PPS number may be required for a person who has died, usually when dealing with grant of probate.
In such cases, you should send a copy of the death certificate and details about why you need the PPS number to the DSP's Client Identity Services.