More than 11 lakh claims were made to the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) through the UMANG app from April 2020 to July 2020, said the government through a press release. The government further added that the withdrawals have gone up more than 180% over the previous four months (December 2019 to March 2020). It's UAN (Unified Account Number) and eKYC API hits also exceeded 21 lakhs and 13 lakhs respectively in this period.
These were the figures given by the government to show that the UMANG app -- an abbreviation of Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance -- has been a huge hit during the ongoing pandemic. It states that users can access 16 different services of the EPFO through the app.
The EPFO is a government body which operates the employees provident fund (EPF) and the employee pension scheme (EPS) towards which eligible employers and employees make contributions in organisations employing more than 20 people. This fund is accessible once an employee reaches the age of 58 with accumulated interest, but can be withdrawn prematurely subject to conditions for specific purposes laid down by the government. The UAN is the account number that an employee holds with the EPFO.
COVID-19 and the EPFO
Since the EPFO holds a part of employees' pay, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the following accommodations to make it increase employers' and employees' cash at hand, as part of its Aatmanirbhar Bharat economic package:
1. Reduced contributions: Initially, employees and employers each contributed 12% of basic pay and dearness allowance towards the fund. This was reduced to 10% for wage months May, June and July 2020. Central undertakings and PSUs however, would continue paying 12%, even though their employees would have to contribute 10% towards the fund.
2. A pandemic withdrawal: The government has also enabled a one-time withdrawal during the ongoing pandemic, which is the lower of 3 months' basic pay plus dearness allowance or 75% of the EPF amount to an employee's credit. This withdrawal is non-refundable. The government has said that this will serve as a source of funds during these times.
3. A governmental contribution towards the fund: The government has decided to contribute both the employer's and employee's contribution to the fund for employers employing less than 100 employees, with 90% of them earning less than ₹15,000. While this was supposed to end in July, the Union Cabinet extended it to the end of this month.
When can you submit a claim?
Other than COVID-19, provident fund can be withdrawn prematurely (before the age of 58) for the following reasons:
Filing claims online
Other than visiting EPFO offices, it is now possible to directly visit the EPFO's website to file these claims, or to make a claim via the UMANG app as mentioned above.
The EPFO has spelt out the process of filing claims via online channels.
Via EPFO's website
- Register with EPFO's claim portal and login
- Go to services, and claims (Form 31, 19, 10C and 10D)
- Enter last 4 digits of bank account number
- Select PF advance type. It could be the COVID-19, or any one of the reasons mentioned above
- Enter the amount, upload a copy of a cheque, and add your address
- Verify the transaction using Aadhaar's OTP
The UMANG app
The UMANG app has an EPFO-centric sections for employees.
- Raise claims
- Login with UAN
- Verify with OTP registered to the UAN
Updated On: 2020-12-03T13:01:35+05:30