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National Insurance

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 29 March (Official Report, col. WA 318), whether they will provide a more accurate figure for the number of national insurance numbers currently held on the Department for Work and Pensions customer information system than the approximately 76 million referred to in the Answer. [HL3128]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What criteria must be fulfilled to issue an individual with a national insurance number; and what checks are in place to ensure that individuals are not issued with more than one number. [HL3132]

Responsibility for the allocation of national insurance numbers (NINOs) to UK resident juveniles (shortly before the individual's sixteenth birthday) rests with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. DWP (Jobcentre Plus) is responsible for the administration of the adult NINO allocation process. For a NINO to be issued under the adult NINO allocation process, an individual must be able to prove their identity and fulfil one of the following criteria:

prove their right to work in the UK where the NINO application relates to employment; or

have claimed, or be the partner in a claim to, a social security benefit or tax credit where NINO application relates to a benefit or tax credit claim; or

be required to possess a NINO in order for a student loan to be awarded.

In order to ensure that individuals are not issued with more than one number, all NINO applications are subject to a rigorous identity checking process. This process includes thorough face-to-face interviews, the use of document examination tools for the verification of identity documents, and an extensive search of the DWP computer system for any existing NINO prior to the allocation of a new NINO.