The retirement fund body EPFO (Employment Provident Fund Organisation) is taking several steps for speedy settlement of claims, as stated by Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (IC) for Labour and Employment.[1] These steps were published by Press Information Bureau, under Ministry of Labour and Employment on March 20, 2017. As per his statement there were a total of 17.14 crore Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accounts as on March 31, 2016 and 12.21 lakhs accounts were pending for updation.  The closing balance in interest account of the EPFO was INR 45,135.25 Crore as on March 31, 2016. These steps which promote e-governance and seek to expedite the process of settlement of claims are as follows:

1. Composite Claim Form (Aadhar) and Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhar):

EPFO issued order dated February 20, 2017 stating subscribers can now withdraw their money from the Provident Fund (PF) account using only one common composite form, and are not required to file other relevant documents.[2] This order is a welcome move to make services available to stakeholders of EPFO in an efficient and transparent manner.

Prior to this order, EPFO had introduced Universal Account Number (UAN) where new forms i.e., Form No.s 19 (UAN), 10C (UAN) & 31 (UAN)  were introduced by the order of Central Provident Fund Commissioner dated December 1, 2015 for all employees whose Aadhar number and bank account details had been linked with UAN. This order has now been replaced by the new order which has introduced Composite Claim Form (Aadhar) and Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhar) to replace Form Nos. 19, 10C and 31.

Subscribers, who have linked Aadhar and bank account details, to their UAN can submit Composite Claim Form (Aadhar) to their respective jurisdictional EPFO office without attestation of the employers. Subscribers, who are yet to link Aadhar and Bank details with their UAN can submit Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhar) to their respective jurisdictional EPFO office without attestation of the employers.

Moreover, the Composite Claim Form (Aadhar) and Composite Claim Form (Non-Aadhar) can be self-certified in place of various certificates previously prescribed to be submitted, due to which the following requirements have been done away with:

  • The “New Declaration Form” required for housing loan/purchase of site/house/flat and “Utilization certificate” have been done away with.
  • No document will be required for grant of advances in case of closure of factories, for marriage advance and for availing post-matriculation education of children.
  • For advance in abnormal condition, member may self-certify that his property has been damaged.
  • Submission of Composite Claim Form (Aadhar) and (Composite Claim form (Non-Aadhar) duly signed by the subscriber shall be construed as ‘self-certification’ for the mentioned partial withdrawals, for which no document would be required to be submitted to the EPFO offices.

2. Settlement of claims

EPFO has mandated to settle claims within 20 days. However, a notification streamlining the process for speedy disposal of claims is awaited.

3. Online Transfer Claim Portal (OTCP)

EPFO has introduced OTCP to facilitate seamless transfer of claims.

4. Internet Banking (INB)

EPFO has introduced online payment facility for employers for payment of dues. This facility improves efficiency and payment and also ensures online access is available at all times and at all places while using existing internet bank account to make payments online. 

5. National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT)

NEFT has been set in motion to make payments.

Observations:

The strategies declared by the honourable Minister will help resolve a large number of claims submitted by members which are lying pending with the employers. These steps will allow speedy processing of claims with the introduction of all time available online payments modes. Time consuming processes of filing various documents have been discarded, thus simplifying and accelerating the process of providing services to EPFO subscribers.