As the country is in a nationwide lockdown, which has been further extended to control the spread of COVID-19, many people are facing financial hardships. In order to provide money in the hands of employees, the government had allowed salaried individuals to withdraw a portion of their provident fund (PF) balance as PF advance.
The money withdrawn as PF advance need not be paid back by the employee and it is not to be considered a loan. The EPFO has specific PF advance rules, form and the process to avail such an advance including that for COVID-19.
The PF advance for COVID 19 is already an on-going process and EPFO in a recent communication has informed that Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has processed about 1.37 lakh claims across the country disbursing an amount of Rs 279.65 crore under a new provision especially formulated by amending the EPF Scheme to help subscribers fight Covid-19.
The system as it stands today is processing all applications which are fully KYC (know your customer) compliant within less than 72 hours.
However, if one is still not being able to get PF advance, there could be issues related to the employee’s KYC amongst other issues. Your KYC may not be complete in your EPF account due which you may not be able to complete the PF advance process.
Importantly, if you have already applied for PF advance for any other purpose, you may still apply for PF Advance for COVID-19.
PF account KYC
If you are trying to file the claim for PF advance online, then it can be done only if your UAN is validated with Aadhaar and KYC of Bank account and Mobile number is seeded in UAN. If not done, you will need to complete your KYC by submitting same on Member Portal. For submitting your claim online your Aadhaar linked mobile will get OTP. So your Aadhaar should be linked with a mobile.
Link Aadhaar to PF account
If your basic details such as name, date of birth and gender against UAN are same as that in Aadhaar, you can link your Aadhaar through eKYC Portal.
Mismatch in date of birth
In case of mismatch in KYC details and details in EPF account, you need to submit an online request through your employer. The bank account details have to be digitally approved by the employer.
EPFO had recently relaxed date of birth correction criteria to ease KYC compliance enabling submission of the claim. EPFO would accept the date of birth recorded in the Aadhaar card of a subscriber as a valid proof for rectification of the date of birth in PF records. All cases with variation in the date of birth up to three years are now being accepted by EPFO.
If you are not having a cheque book leaf for uploading while filing online claims the front page of bank passbook pertaining to bank account seeded with your UAN can be uploaded. This page should clearly reflect your name, account number, bank, branch and IFSC code.
How much PF advance
The maximum PF advance or non-refundable withdrawal is to the extent of the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to member’s credit in the EPF account, whichever is less. One may withdraw a lesser amount as well. Importantly, according to EPFO, this being an advance, does not attract income tax deductions.
It’s important to ensure that your KYC is completed and essential details are seeded to your UAN as the EPFO is settling claims in auto mode directly by the system in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements were complete in all respects.