Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) is a retirement benefits scheme that’s available to all salaried employees. This fund is maintained and overseen by the Employees Provident Fund Organization of India (EPFO) and any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the EPFO. It’s a savings platform that helps employees save a fraction of their salary every month that can be used in the event that you are rendered unable to work, or upon retirement.
The government had earlier relaxed the EPFO rules regarding the withdrawal of PF money keeping the employee’s difficulties during the lockdown because of the COVID.
The new PF advance or withdrawal rule will apply to all establishments across the country. This is because COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by govt. authorities for the entire country and, therefore, employees working in establishments and factories across entire India, who are members of the EPF Scheme are eligible for the benefits of non-refundable advance.
Hope all stakeholders will get answer of their query from following FAQs:-
Q: What is the eligibility to avail advance from EPF to fight COVID-19 Pandemic?
Ans. Any member of EPF Scheme, 1952 with UAN (Universal account number) employed in any establishment or factory covered under EPF & MP Act, 1952.
Q: Under which provision of the EPF Scheme, 1952, a member is entitled for benefit?
Ans: That a new sub-para (3) has been inserted in Paragraph 68L of the EPF Scheme, 1952 through GSR No.225(E) published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary), Part II- Section 3- sub section (1) on 28.03.2020 to provide for benefit.
Q: What is the new beneficial provision?
Ans: It is to provide for non-refundable advance from their EPF account to EPF members, employed in factory or establishment located in an area, which is declared to be affected by outbreak of epidemic or pandemic by the Appropriate Govt.
Q: If a person wants to obtain money from EPF Account then how much money can he get from his EPF account under this new provision to fight COVID-19 and do he has to refund it?
Ans: A person can get non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75% of the amount standing to your credit in the EPF account, whichever is less. The amount standing to credit in EPF includes employee’s share, employer’s share and interest thereupon.
Since withdrawal is non-refundable, there is no requirement to refund the amount.
Q: If balance in person’s EPF account is Rs. 50,000/- and Wages & DA id Rs. 15,000. How much benefit he can avail?
Ans: If the balance in member’s EPF account as on date is Rs. 50,000/- and monthly basic wage and dearness allowance is Rs. 15,000/-
75% of balance of Rs. 50,000/- is Rs. 37,500/- & amount of three months wage is Rs.45000/-. So member is eligible to get Rs. 37,500/- the least of two amounts.
Q: How can a person claim this amount? Does he need to submit claim form to EPFO Office?
Ans: Like claim for all other types of advances, the claim for this advance also can be filed Online if your UAN is validated with Aadhaar and KYC of Bank account and Mobile number is seeded in UAN.
Q: Where and how can a person file Online Claim?
Ans: On the home page of website- www.epfindia.gov.in, under the TAB “COVID-19” on top right hand corner, instructions for filing online advance claim is hosted.
The process is also noted below:
a. Login to Member Interface of Unified Portal (https://unifiedportalmem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface)
b. Go to Online Services>>Claim (Form-31,19,10C & 10D)
c. Enter last 4 digits of your Bank Account and verify
d. Click on “Proceed for Online Claim”
e. Select PF Advance (Form 31) from the drop down
f. Select purpose as “Outbreak of pandemic (COVID-19)” from the drop down
g. Enter amount required and Upload scanned copy of cheque and enter your address
h. Click on “Get Aadhaar OTP”
i. Enter the OTP received on Aadhaar linked
j. Claim is submitted
Q: How can a person file claim through my mobile phone?
Ans: Yes, from your mobile phone you can either
i) login to (https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface) and follow steps a. to j as in Ans to Q9 to file claim OR
ii) Through UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) Mobile APP Home> EPFO> Employee Centric Services> Raise Claim> Login with your UAN and OTP received on your mobile number registered with UAN to file claim
Q.: If a person has not left his job. Can he withdraw PF to fight COVID-19?
Ans: Yes. He can avail this advance while still in service.
DISCLAIMER: The article is based on the relevant provisions and as per the information existing at the time of the preparation. In no event I shall be liable for any direct and indirect result from this article. This is only a knowledge sharing initiative.
THE AUTHOR – CS Deepak Seth (Associate Partner at Helpinghands Professionals LLP) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9910248911.