Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a government-backed scheme and is a compulsory deduction for salaried employees. It is a fund to which both the employee and employer contribute 10 per cent of the employee’s basic salary each month. Earlier this percentage was 12 per cent for private organisations.
The employer and employee deposit their contribution with the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) every month. Generally, the accumulated or a part of the amount in an EPF account can be withdrawn by the employee in the event of retirement, or resignation.
But witnessing the tough times for many, the EPFO has now allowed the members to withdraw a part of the amount in case of the COVID-19 crisis or in the case of unemployment. Similarly, this amount can be transferred from one company to another in case the employee changes his job. EPF account yields a return of 8.5 per cent annually.
The members, who are unemployed for a month or more can now avail a non-refundable advance of up to 75 per cent of amount available in their PF account. The EPFO recently tweeted that “Members who are no longer employed for one month or more can avail a non-refundable advance of up to 75 per cent of the amount available in their PF account.” The auto-mode of settlement enables EPFO to reduce the claim settlement cycle to just 3 days, against the statutory requirement to settle the claims within 20 days.
This facility will financially help members during unemployment and will also enable them to continue their pension membership, as their EPF accounts are not closed. These are non-refundable advances and the person will not have to deposit the withdrawn money back into its EPF account. The person eyeing an advance can make an online application using its login on the EPFO’s website.
Let’s take a look at how you can withdraw money from your EPF account. All employees, who are EPF contributors, can apply for an advance from their EPF accounts.
In case of withdrawal, the employee should use his Universal Account Number (UAN), which the EPFO has issued. Keep in mind that your Aadhaar, PAN, and bank account must be linked with your UAN. The person, who wants to withdraw, can write an application to the Commissioner asking for an advance from his EPF account. The withdrawal can be done either by submitting a hard copy of the application or by submitting an application online.
Seeing the current situation, it is better to submit an online application. After logging in, under the Online Services section, choose Claim (Form-31, 19, and 10C). Then, the next screen will appear with the details of the person and ask for the last 4 digits of the person’s bank account number. After verification, the person can click on Proceed for Online Claim. Then, the person can apply for PF Advance (Form 31). The reason for an advance can be indicated as Unemployment. The person can write the amount he requires in advance, along with his address and a scanned copy of the bank cheque.
Request for an Aadhaar OTP to verify. Fill in the OTP received on the registered mobile number. Submit the application.