Up to three months basic wages, or 75 per cent of total, made available to members
With the second Covid wave hitting the country hard, retirement fund body Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to allow its over five crore subscribers to avail a second advance. Earlier last year, EPFO had allowed members to withdraw a Covid-19 advance to meet exigencies due to the pandemic.
Members were allowed to withdraw three months basic wages (basic pay + dearness allowance) or up to 75 per cent of the amount in their provident fund account, whichever was less.
“To support its subscribers during the second wave, EPFO has now allowed its members to avail a second non-refundable Covid-19 advance,” said a labour ministry statement. The provision for special withdrawal to meet financial needs of members during the pandemic was introduced in March 2020, under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), it said.
An amendment to this effect was made in the Employees’ Provident Funds Scheme, 1952, by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, by inserting sub-para (3) under paragraph 68L, through a notification in the Official Gazette. Under this provision, non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of basic pay and dearness allowances (which forms basic wages) for three months, or up to 75 per cent of the amount in the member’s EPF account, whichever is less, is provided.
Members can apply for lesser amount too.
The Covid-19 advance has been a great help to EPF members during the pandemic, especially for those with monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000. Till now, EPFO has settled more than 76.31 lakh Covid advance claims, disbursing a total of Rs 18,698.15 crore.
During the second wave, ‘mucormycosis’ or black fungus has been declared an epidemic recently.
In such trying times, EPFO endeavours to lend a helping hand to its members by meeting their financial needs. Members who have already availed the first Covid-19 advance can now opt for a second advance. The provision and process for withdrawal of the second advance remains the same as before, it said.
Considering members’ urgent need for financial support in these trying times, it has been decided to accord top priority to Covid-19 claims.
EPFO is committed to settle these claims within three days of receipt. For this, the EPFO has deployed a system driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements is complete in all respects.
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.