The issue of 65,000 PPS numbers to Ukrainian refugees cost the state 176 million euros

Issuing 65,000 PPS numbers to Ukrainian refugees has cost the state €176 million so far this year, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been told.

A total of 260,000 PPS numbers (PPSN) were issued that year, with 200,000 to non-residents and 60,000 to Irish babies born.

Department of Social Protection Secretary-General John McKeon told TDs that most PPS figures issued in the past decade, apart from this year, were 180,000 in 2017.

Last year there were only around 130,000 PPSN applications.

He confirmed to Mayo TD Alan Dillon that 176 million euros was spent in the department issuing PPS numbers in reception centers that take in Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country.

Around 200 people in the department are currently issuing PPS numbers, which are given to all Ukrainians arriving in the state.

“Our PPSN processing was under pressure. We have used additional staff and resources to do this, including overtime. It was up at six weeks, now it’s back at four weeks,” he said.

“Ten days is where we want to be.”

He said over 10,000 PPSN applications had been received from people seeking international protection.

“We have received approval from the Ministry of Public Expenditure and Reform to increase our headcount by about 280 over the next year,” he said.

Mr McKeon warned that members of the public “do mischief with numbers like that and whatnot,” and said social services workers are honored to do the work.

PPS numbers are given to people who come to Ireland to work and their families.

The ministry has also increased its spending on software since an attempted cyberattack, the committee was told.

The Department for Social Protection was attacked by hackers at a similar time when the HSE was attacked last year.

“The HSE learned a lot from this and we implemented some of the controls that they implemented afterwards,” Mr McKeon said. The issue of 65,000 PPS numbers to Ukrainian refugees cost the state 176 million euros

Fry Electronics Team

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