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All about “Employee Provident Fund (EPF) Advance Scheme to fight COVID – 19”
Recently, Government has announced the scheme to avail the advance by the employee from EPF to fight COVID-19 Pandemic. The employee are approaching the employer and others consultant for getting an idea about it.
There is lot of confusions about it, here is a guide about the scheme.
1. It may be noted that any member of EPF Scheme, 1952 with Universal Account Number (UAN) employed in any establishment or factory covered under EPF & MP Act, 1952 is covered by the scheme and can avail advance.
2. To offer the benefit of advance, the law of EPF Scheme, 1952is amended. A new sub-para (3) has been inserted in Paragraph 68L of the EPF Scheme, 1952 through GSR No.225(E) published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary), Part II- Section 3- sub section (1) on 28.03.2020 to provide for benefit.
3. The amended scheme provide that non-refundable advance may be granted from their EPF account to EPF members employed in factory or establishment located in an area which is declared to be affected by outbreak of epidemic or pandemic by the Appropriate Govt.
4. Since COVID-19 has been declared a Pandemic by the Appropriate Government for the entire country and therefore the employees working in establishments and factories across entire India, who are members of the EPF Scheme, 1952, are eligible. It means that all establishment/factory wherein employee is working & to whom PEF Act applies are covered by the scheme.
5. The most important part is that the EPF member are not at all required to produce any certificate or document for availing this advance. The amount can be released without any certificate from the employer, doctor or collectors etc.
6. Even if an advance is already availed by an employee for illness then also an employee can again avail advance against the present scheme
7. Employee can get non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75% of the amount standing to the credit of employee’s EPF account, whichever is less. It may be noted that amount standing to credit in EPF includes employee’s share, employer’s share and interest thereupon. All the more important, Since withdrawal is non-refundable, there is no requirement to refund the amount.
For example, if the balance in member’s EPF account as on date is Rs. 1,00,000/- and monthly basic wage and dearness allowance is Rs. 14,000/-then 75% of balance of Rs. 1,00,000/- is Rs. 75,000/- & amount of three months wage is Rs. 42,000/-. In such case, employee is eligible to get Rs. 42,000/- as it is the least of Rs. 75,000 & Rs. 42,000/-
8. It may be noted that EPFO is processing application for advance to fight COVID-19 pandemic despite lockdown. Rather, claim are being settled on priority to mitigate hardship faced by members.
9. In order to claim the amount of advances from EPF Account, a prescribed approach is required to be followed. An application can be filed Online if your UAN is validated with Aadhaar and KYC of Bank account and Mobile number is there in UAN. For making an online application, one need to login at www.epfindia.gov.in wherein menu “COVID-19” on top right hand corner is provided with elaborated instructions for filing online advance claim is hosted.
The step-wise process to be followed for availing advance is as under:
i. Login to Member Interface of Unified Portal https://unifiedportalmem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface
ii. Go to Online Services – Claim Form – 31,19,10C & 10D
iii. Enter last 4 digits of your Bank Account and verify it.
iv. Click on “Proceed for Online Claim”
v. Select PF Advance (Form 31) from the drop down option provided therein.
vi. Select purpose as “Outbreak of pandemic (COVID-19)” from the drop down options provided therein.
vii. Enter amount required as advance and Upload scanned copy of cheque and enter your address wherein the amount needed to be credited.
viii. Click on “Get Aadhaar OTP”
ix. Enter the OTP received on Aadhaar linked mobile.
x. Claim is submitted
There is an option to claim the advance through the mobile also by following the given step-wise procedure, as under.
i. login to https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface
ii. and follow all the steps discussed above or through Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMAG) Mobile APP – Home- EPFO- Employee Centric Services – Raise Claim – Login with your UAN and OTP received on the r mobile number registered with UAN to file claim
10. Even an employee working in an exempted establishment can get the advance to fight COVID-19 pandemic from PF Trust. as “Terms and conditions of exemption” in Para 27AA of EPF Scheme, 1952 already provides that any amendment to EPF Scheme, 1952 which is more beneficial to the employees becomes applicable to exempted establishments pending formal amendment of Trust Rules.
11. There is no income tax implications on the amount withdrawn as advance under the present scheme.
12. If an employee has already applied advance for a different purpose for a lower amount then for availing advance under this scheme, application done earlier need to be withdrawn. Such withdrawn can be done by sending request on email to the jurisdictional Regional Office for rejection of earlier form 31 submitted.
13. It may be noted that claims for advance to fight COVID-19 pandemic are being taken on priority considering humanitarian ground & exigency of the situation.
14. Claim for advance under this scheme can be filed Online only if UAN is validated with Aadhaar and KYC of Bank account and Mobile number is there in UAN. If it is not there then employee has to complete KYC by submitting same on Member Portal. If the basic details like name, date of birth and gender against UAN are same as that in Aadhar then one can easily can link it with Aadhar through eKYC Portal. In case of mis-match in KYC details and details in EPF account, employee need to submit online request for demographic detail correction through the employer. Here, the bank account details has to be digitally approved by the employer. For submitting claim online, aadhar linked mobile will only get OTP. In short, aadhar linking with a mobile is mandatory.
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