The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has issued a circular on December 29, 2022 specifying the eligibility criteria for employees seeking higher pension and the ways to apply for the same online. This follows the Supreme Court’s direction on higher pension for eligible employees.
Employees Eligible For Higher Pension
According to the EPFO circular, only those employees who have contributed to higher wages as mandated under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme and have exercised their option for higher pension prior to their retirement are eligible for a higher pension .
“The employees who have retired before September 1, 2014 upon exercising option under paragraph 11(3) of the 1995 scheme shall be covered by the provisions of the paragraph 11(3) of the pension scheme as it stood prior to the amendment of 2014,” the circular states.
Here are the kind of pensioners who can apply for higher pension:
- The Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) member, who as employees had contributed on salary exceeding the then prevalent wage ceiling of Rs 5,000 or Rs 6,500.
- EPFO subscriber who exercised joint option under EPS of the pre-amendment scheme while being members of EPS-95.
- EPFO member whose exercise of such option was declined by the EPFO.
Employees Not Eligible For Higher Pension
The EPFO circular also stated that certain employees will not be eligible for higher pension after the Supreme Court order dated November 4, 2022. They are as follows.
- Employees who had retired prior to September 1, 2014, without exercising any option under paragraph 11(3) of the pre-amendment scheme, and have already exited from the membership thereof. (Therefore), They would not be entitled to the benefit of this judgement.
- The employees who had retired before September 1, 2014, upon exercising option under paragraph 11(3) of the 1995 scheme shall be covered by the provisions of paragraph 11(3) of the pension scheme as it stood prior to the amendment of 2014.
How Eligible Employees Can Apply For Higher Pension
The eligible pensioners need to visit concerned regional EPFO office along with a duly filled-in application form and specified documents to apply for a higher pension.
Here is the process of applying for a higher pension at the regional EPFO office:
- The request needs to be made in such form and manner as specified by the commissioner;
- The application form for validation will contain the disclaimer as ordered in the aforesaid government notification;
- In case of share requiring adjustment from provident fund to pension fund and if any, re-deposit to the fund, the explicit consent of the pensioner will be given in the application form;
- In case of transfer of funds from exempted provident fund trust to pension fund of EPFO, an undertaking of the trustee shall be submitted. The undertaking shall be to the effect that due contribution along with interest-up to the date of payment, will be deposited within the specified period;
- Subsequent circulars will be issued informing how the required amount will be deposited for higher pension.
Necessary Documents For Higher Pension
The following documents need to be submitted for evidence and further processing:
- Proof of joint option under Para 26(6) of the EPF scheme duly verified by the employer;
- Proof of joint option under the proviso to erstwhile para 11(3) duly verified by the employer;
- Proof of remittance in provident fund account on higher wages exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs 5,000/Rs 6,500;
- Proof of remittance in pension fund on higher wages exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs 5,000/Rs 6,500, if any, and
- Written refusal of Assistant Public Provident Fund Commissioner (APFC) or any other higher authority of EPFO to such request/remittance.
The regional PF commissioner, will process the application forms within a specified time period, and after due process, the order to that effect will be intimated to the application through post, e-mail and possibly telephone and/or SMS.
In case the applicant has any grievance, then a complaint can be raised on EPFiGMS after submission of the request form and payment of due contribution, if any.
“The registration of such grievance shall be under the specified category of higher pension with reference to Supreme Court Judgment dated November, 2022. All such grievances shall be addressed and disposed of at the level of nominated officer. Grievances will be monitored by the officer-in-charge of the regional office and the zonal office,” the EPFO circular adds.