Personal Public Service Number
The Personal Public Service Number (PPS No) is an identifier
An identifier is a name that identifies either a unique object or a unique class of objects, where the "object" or class may be an idea, physical [countable] object , or physical [noncountable] substance...

 issued by Client Identity Services, Department of Social and Family Affairs on behalf of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Ireland)
The Minister for Social Protection is the senior minister at the Department of Social Protection in the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Social Protection is Joan Burton, TD.-Overview:...

 in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...


The number was previously known as the Revenue and Social Insurance Number (RSI No) until 1998 and was issued first in April 1979 as a replacement for the separate PAYE Number and Social Welfare Insurance Number which had been used for income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 and social welfare purposes respectively until then. The PAYE Number was issued by the Revenue Commissioners and these numbers were transferred to the RSI No system as a basis for the unified system.


The format of the number is a unique alphanumeric
Alphanumeric is a combination of alphabetic and numeric characters, and is used to describe the collection of Latin letters and Arabic digits or a text constructed from this collection. There are either 36 or 62 alphanumeric characters. The alphanumeric character set consists of the numbers 0 to...

 in the general form 8765432A. The number is assigned at the registration of birth of the child and is issued on a "Social Services Card" often when a child reaches the legal age of employment, currently 16, otherwise a "Letter of Entitlement" is issued. The same format was used by the Department of Education and Science
Department of Education and Science (Ireland)
The Department of Education and Skills is a department of the Government of Ireland. It is led by the Minister for Education and Skills who is assisted by two Ministers of State.-Departmental team:...

 as the "Pupil Number" since 1994 and this caused some concern and confusion as it was in the same format and used the same check character formula, but more often different from the PPS No. In August 2000 the department instigated a program to remove the Pupil Number and replace it with the PPS No in future on records.

The format is 7 numeric characters (including leading zeros), a check character and sometimes a second letter, which if it exists, will normally be a W. This extra letter was used for women - "W" from "wife" - who married and automatically adopted the same number as their husband, though this practice stopped in 1991 chiefly due to equal rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 concerns. The present policy is that these W numbers are eliminated when the bearer's husband dies, or when they become separated or divorced. Sometimes, an extra character (either a T or an X) may be used to relate to specific employment or welfare situations such as a husband & wife being employed by the same company, or an employee being employed twice by the same company (where two separate PPS numbers would be needed for reporting purposes) or in a welfare situation, where a separated spouse receives some of the customer's payment on their own behalf.

The Social Services Card also contains a number called the "Primary Account Number" (PAN), this is the long main sequence embossed near the centre of the card. This consists of the issuer number of the International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

, the PPS number and a card issue number; any letters are converted to numbers using the standard convention of A=1, B=2 and so forth. Basic personal information is encoded on the magnetic stripe on the rear of the card such as date of birth and sex.

Check Character

The format of the PPS number is seven digits plus a check character. A second character may be used. If so it is always a 'W'.

The check character is calculated using a weighted addition of all the numbers and modulus calculation. It therefore checks for incorrectly entered digits and for digit transposition (digits in the wrong order will alter the sum due to weightings).


In reverse order, each digit is multiplied by a weight, 2, 3, and so on until the first digit is multiplied by 8. Add up each result. Divide by 23 and the remainder (modulus 23) will indicate the character position on the alphabet.

Thus the PPS number 1234567 will be calculated as the sum of 7*2, 6*3, 5*4, 4*5, 3*6, 2*7 and 1*8. This 112 when divided by 23 leaves a remainder of 20. The twentieth letter of the English alphabet is 'T'. The correct PPS number is therefore 1234567T. Where the remainder is zero, the check letter is W.

Check digit calculation in software

The following are examples of software that provide checksum verification:

PHP is a general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages. For this purpose, PHP code is embedded into the HTML source document and interpreted by a web server with a PHP processor module, which generates the web page document...

: The Pear class Validate_IE contains a checksum algorythm.

Thesaurus Software Thesaurus Payroll Manager payroll software.

The Sage Group
The Sage Group plc , commonly known as Sage, is a global enterprise software company headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. It is the world's third-largest supplier of enterprise resource planning software , the largest supplier to small businesses, and has 6.1 million customers...

 QuickPay payroll software.

PPS Number Validator


As the system allows for a maximum of ten million numbers to be issued, and with numbers having been issued to both the Irish and the legal immigrant population, expatriates, and many people who are now deceased, the current system will be in need of expansion in the not distant future.

From January 2013, the format will use a letter after the current check character. This has the advantage that all current PPS numbers remain valid. The letter after the check character would have a weighting of nine. The letter value would be assigned the same as the check character's. A=1, B=2 ... W=0.

Examples of valid new PPSN





The number is currently used for a number of public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 including education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

, housing
A house is a building or structure that has the ability to be occupied for dwelling by human beings or other creatures. The term house includes many kinds of different dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to free standing individual structures...

, social welfare and tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 however the net is widening raising concern about functionality creep . The number is underpinned in legislation by the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 (Section 262) and a number of amendments, including data protection, has expanded its legal use as well as defining improper usage.

The number has already been issued automatically to everyone born in the Republic of Ireland since January 1971 and those who commenced or were in employment since April 1979 - the primary trigger today for the numbers' issue is birth
Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring. The offspring is brought forth from the mother. The time of human birth is defined as the time at which the fetus comes out of the mother's womb into the world...

 registration. A PPS number can be applied for at a PPS Number allocation centre. Applicants should show the reason for requiring a PPS Number, and provide Photographic ID and proof of address.

External links

  • NHI Number
    NHI Number
    The National Health Index number is the unique person identifier used within the New Zealand health system. It is technically not a number but rather an alphanumeric identifier consisting of 7 characters, with three letters and four numbers...

     (a similar number in New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

  • National Insurance number
    National Insurance number
    The National Insurance number is a number used in the United Kingdom in the administration of the National Insurance or social security system. It is also used for some purposes in the UK tax system...

     (a similar number in the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

  • Social Insurance Number
    Social Insurance Number
    A social insurance number is a number issued in Canada to administer various government programs. The SIN was created in 1964 to serve as a client account number in the administration of the Canada Pension Plan and Canada's varied employment insurance programs. In 1967, Revenue Canada started...

     (a similar number in Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Tax File Number
    Tax File Number
    Tax File Number is an 8 or 9 digit number issued by the Australian Taxation Office to each taxpayer to identify that taxpayer's Australian tax dealings. When it was introduced in 1988, individuals received a 9 digit TFN and non-individuals were issued an 8 digit TFN. Now both are issued 9 digit...

     (a similar number in Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

  • Social security number
    Social Security number
    In the United States, a Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents under section 205 of the Social Security Act, codified as . The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent...

     (a similar number in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.