450 people had welfare payments suspended

By Daniel McConnell

The Department of Social Protection suspended the welfare payments of about 450 people who failed to go through an identity registration process for the public services card (PSC), it has emerged.

The Department of Social Protection suspended the welfare payments of about 450 people who failed to go through an identity registration process for the public services card (PSC), it has emerged.

Officials from the department appearing before an Oireachtas committee said much of the negative commentary concerning the PSC has been “misleading” and “incorrect” and repeatedly drew attention to the media reportage that has been directed at the project.

“There has been too much emphasis on the card,” said official Tim Duggan.

Minister Paschal Donohoe at the launch of the Public Services Card

Mr Duggan said the card is “about making sure we’re dealing with the right people”.

He said it is “very difficult to answer” how many people have had benefits suspended due to a refusal to register for a PSC as “it is a very fluid situation”.

Mr Duggan said that about 4,000 free travel passes have been revoked due to a failure to register, but that “most of those people have never engaged with the department”.

He indicated many of these cases relate to elderly people who might no longer be using their entitlement to free public transport.

Roughly 450 other cases have seen the suspension of a payment, he said, adding that in the department’s opinion, “we think they’ve gone abroad”.

The official said in the “vast majority” of cases where payments had been suspended, it was not because people had objected to the card or did not believe there was a legislative basis for it.

The committee was told three-quarters of the adult population of the State, or 2.65m people, now have a public services card. Some 3.14m had been issued as of Thursday.

It was “not a national ID card” and there was “no intention” for it to be such, said Mr Duggan.

- Irish Examiner

 

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