New public services card unveiled
Department of Social
The new public services card is being distributed to social welfare recipients from this week.
The card, which incorporates anti-fraud mechanisms such as a biometric photograph, is designed to provide access for those entitled to public services and free travel.
The Department of Social Protection has begun the phased introduction of the card at offices in Tullamore, Sligo and King's Inns in Dublin, officials told an Oireachtas committee today.
By the end of the year, it is anticipated that 4,000 people will be issued with the card, which is the size of a credit card and is said to be tamper-proof.
The front of the card will hold a person's name, photograph and signature, while the back will hold the person's PPS number and a magnetic stripe for compatibility with existing social services cards.
In addition to this, information about the person's name, PPS, date of birth, sex, nationality, photograph and signature will be electronically stored on the card. The Department says that, in time, the magnetic stripe will be replaced by chip and pin technology.
The Department aims to make â‚¬625 million in control savings next year by cutting down on welfare fraud, up from â‚¬540 million this year, assistant secretary Ann Vaughan told the Joint Committee on Social Protection today.
However, control savings are not actual monies recovered by the Department but an estimate of future expenditure that is avoided. The actual level of overpayments last year was considerably lower, at â‚¬83.4 million.
What do you think of this idea? I think it is a good idea, as there is so much welfare fraud going on. Apparently, so many people are using colour photocopied bus passes on the red line Luas.