Employee Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has recently allowed the subscribers to withdraw money from their Provident Fund (PF) accounts as non-refundable advance. The decision was taken to provide some relief to the citizens severely affected by the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Now, EPFO members can withdraw money from their accounts, citing COVID-19 as a reason.
The new rule EPFO members must know:
Earlier, the retirement body used to allow subscribers to withdraw non-refundable advance in certain cases like illness, buying a house etc. In 2020, the central government amended Provident Funds Scheme, 1952 to permit people people withdraw their money from the retirement fund, mentioning COVID-19 amid global pandemic.
EPF account holders can withdraw basic pay and dearness allowance (DA) of three months or 75 per cent of their Provident Fund money or whichever is lower as advance. However, members can apply for lesser amounts as well. Those who have already taken an advance from theirs PF accounts last year, are also eligible to opt this service.
In case of emergencies, especially during coronavirus pandemic, individuals can fall back upon the Provident Fund money, instead of taking loans. To take non-refundable advance from PF account, you will need three things — 1) Your UAN number must be activated, 2) UAN number should be linked with Aadhaar, PAN and the bank account numbers, 3) The mobile number that has been used to activate the UAN must be in working condition to receive the one-time password (OTP).
A step-by-step guide to withdraw money from your PF account online
1) Login to your EPFO account using your UAN and password.
2) Go to the tab ‘Online Services’ and select the option ‘Claim (Form-31, 19 & 10C)’ from the drop-down menu.
3) A screen will open displaying members details, PAN card, Aadhaar card and bank account number. You will be asked to enter the last four digits of your bank account and click on ‘Verify’.
4) Once you verify the details, you need to confirm the ‘Terms and Conditions’ as stated by the retirement fund. Then, click on ‘Proceed Claim Online’.
5) Then you have to select ‘PF Advance (Form 31)’ to withdraw your funds online. In the claim form, you must state the reason for taking an advance under the ‘Purpose for which advance is required’. This option will only be shown to those who are eligible for partial withdrawal. Individuals need to select COVID-19 as a reason for the partial withdrawal.
6) After selecting the reason, you need to enter the amount required and the complete address. Then, EPF subscribers will be asked to upload the cheque or account details. After completing all the necessary details, you have to submit your application.
7) Once you have confirmed all the details, you have to request for an OTP, which will be sent to the mobile number linked with your EPFO account. After you enter the OTP, you claim application will be submitted.
8) Your employer has to approve your withdrawal request after which the money will be withdrawn from your EPF account and transferred to the bank account.
To process the claims faster, the retirement body has deployed auto-claim settlement process under which. Only those who have updated their KYC documents on EPFO website, will be eligible to apply to withdrawal. However, EPF account holders can also fill their KYC documents online. The pension body will clear your claims within three working days. “Auto-mode of settlement enables EPFO to reduce the claim settlement cycle to just 3 days as against the statutory requirement to settle the claims within 20 days," the ministry of labour and employment added.