Due to COVID-19, the DWP is only able to offer a National Insurance Number (NINo) service to a limited number of applicants

16 September 2020

The CIPP’s Advisory team has been receiving reports from members that new NI numbers aren’t being issued at present, and instead only temporary numbers are being provided.

The Policy and research team contacted HMRC to enquire about this, and the following was confirmed:

In order to allocate a NINo for employment purposes, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a legal requirement to confirm that the applicant has the right to work in the UK, and their identity. 

At present it is only possible to accept applications from those who were granted permission to work in the UK by the Home Office prior to them coming to the UK. This is possible because the DWP is able to validate these applications with the Home Office.

For all other applicants (UK/EU/EEA/ citizens) who have not interacted with the Home Office, their identity and right to work is, under normal circumstances, confirmed, by DWP, at a face to face interview.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been necessary to temporarily suspend this face to face service. 

It is not possible, due to the requirement to examine customers’ ID documents, to offer a virtual service.  However, to support the reinstatement of our NINo service, the DWP is developing a digital solution that should enable it to reintroduce the process incrementally during the autumn.

Although HMRC usually wants employees to provide employers with their NINo as soon as possible, to make sure their National Insurance (NI) records are correct, someone can be employed before they get their NINo, provided that it can be confirmed that they are legally entitled to work in the UK.   All Real Time Information (RTI) submissions should include as many other personal details as possible.

For people who have a NINo, but cannot remember it, they can get confirmation of it by using their Personal Tax Account, where they can save or print a copy of a NINo confirmation letter or HMRC App where they can share their “my details” page with their employer.

An article relating to the topic will be included in the October edition of the Employer Bulletin.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.