EPFO Allows Subscribers to Avail Second Covid-19 Advance

The Covid-19 advance has been a great help for those having monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000

EPFO Allows Subscribers to Avail Second Covid-19 Advance
EPFO Allows Subscribers to Avail Second Covid-19 Advance
Indrishka Bose - 31 May 2021

Retirement fund body the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation EPFO, to support its five crore subscribers through the Covid crisis, has allowed them to avail the second Covid-19 advance.

Earlier last year, EPFO had allowed its members to withdraw Covid-19 advance to meet exigencies due to the pandemic.

The members were allowed to withdraw three months' basic wages (basic pay + dearness allowance) or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to their credit in their provident fund account, whichever is less.

"To support its subscribers during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the EPFO has now allowed its members to avail second non-refundable Covid-19 advance," a labour ministry statement said.

The provision for such special withdrawal to meet the financial need 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 by the Ministry of Labour & Employment in Employees' Provident Funds Scheme, 1952 by inserting therein sub-para (3) under paragraph 68L, through a notification in the Official Gazette.

Under this provision, non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of the basic pay and dearness allowances (which forms basic wages) for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, is provided.

Members can apply for a lesser amount also.

“The family of an ESIC covered employee is entitled to a pension at 90 per cent of the average salary of an employee in the event of death or disablement of an employee. The period for which pension would be provided is specified in the provisions. This benefit is being extended to Covid related deaths as well, thereby entitling the family to pension benefits,” said Saraswathi Kasturirangan, Partner, Deloitte India.

The Covid-19 advance has supported the EPF members during the pandemic. It has been a great help for those having monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000.

The EPFO has settled more than 76.31 lakh Covid-19 advance claims thereby disbursing a total of Rs 18,698.15 crore.

The EPFO is committed to settling these claims within three days of their receipt. For this, the EPFO has deployed a system-driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements are 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.

“Employees who have had a contribution period of 12 months under the Provident Fund scheme, would be covered under the Employees Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme – the existing requirement of continuous employment of 12 months in the same establishment has been relaxed. A lumpsum payout, in the event of the death of the employee, is envisaged as an insurance payout, with a minimum of Rs 2.5 lakh, maximum being Rs 7 Lakh. The maximum payout of Rs 6 lakh has now been enhanced to Rs 7 lakh,” Kasturirangan added.

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