In 2021, the EPFO changed several restrictions and guidelines regulating withdrawals from the Provident Fund account. The goal of these adjustments is to make it easier for subscribers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak to access their PF money. As per the new guidelines, all the PF account holders can withdraw the smaller of up to three months’ basic pay + dearness allowance, or 75 % of their PF or EPF account’s net balance. This is considered as a non-refundable deposit. These withdrawal claims can be made through the internet. Online claims also have to be resolved within three working days, however, offline claims can take up to 20 days.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Act 1952, Chapter VIII, lists the reasons for which a member employee might withdraw Provident Fund (PF), including:
Para 68 B/BB/BC
Housing loan, or purchase of any house, site or flat, or purchasing land for construction, or any added alterations in an existing house, or the repayment of the housing loan
Para 68 H
Factory’s lockout or closure
Para 68 J
Illness of any family member or the employee
Para 68 K
Marriage of the employee or their brother, sister, son, or daughter
Para 68 K
Children’s post matriculation education
Para 68 M
Electricity cut in the establishment
Para 68 N
Equipment’s purchase by a physically handicapped person
Para 68 NN
A year before the retirement
Para 68 NNN
Investment-related to Varistha pension Bima Yojna
Para 68 HH (Unemployment Advance):
(Related to 2018’s amendment in Employee’s PF Scheme): Please note that this condition is in addition to Paragraph 69(2), which states that the provident fund must be fully settled. Employees’ Provident Fund Organization confirmed this in Manual/ Para 68HH/ dated December 19th, 2018, which was included with the 2018’s amendment in Employee’s PF Scheme. Paragraph 69 HH allows an individual who has been terminated from work to make a non-refundable withdrawal of 75 percent of his accrued corpus after one month from the date of termination.
Furthermore, if the individual remains unemployed for a period of two months or more, or is working in an establishment where the scheme is not applicable, he is allowed to withdraw the remaining 25% and settle the PF amount completely under Para 69HH read with Para 69(2).
Para 68 L (Natural Calamities or any other abnormal condition)
(Related to 2020’s amendment in Employee’s PF Scheme): A provision has been made in Vide Notification GSR.225(E), dated 27.03.2020, for withdrawal of a non-refundable advance on account of COVID-19 from the member’s PF account not exceeding the smaller of their basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75% of the amount standing to his credit in the fund.
Para 69 (2)
The provision for the funds’ entire withdrawal from the PF account is as follows:
It states that upon ceasing to be an employee provident fund in any establishment to which the Act applies, a member may withdraw the full amount standing to his credit in the fund, provided that he has not been employed in other establishment or factory or organization to which the Act applies for a continuous period of not below two months, preceding the date on which he makes the withdrawal application in PPF Account.
Para 76 (b)
This paragraph specifies the penalties that will be imposed if any person:
- submits a false statement, return, or other documents, or makes any false declaration, or fails to submit any return, statement, or other documents essential for this scheme.
- violates or fails to comply with any other provision of this Scheme, he may be sentenced to one year in prison, a fine of up to four thousand rupees, or both.
This form is used to settle the provident fund account as its whole, as stipulated in Paragraph 69 of the Scheme.
At the form’s end, the member also has to state that he/she has been unemployed for around two months.
Composite Claim Form
EPFO has combined Form 19 (final payment of provident fund), Form 10C (pension withdrawal), and Form 31 into one form (for availing non-refundable withdrawal of provident fund).
The document also indicates that if the money is used for anything other than what is specified on the form, the member will be required to refund the entire sum, plus interest.
The form also comes with an instruction booklet, which states that the member does not need to produce any documents to receive the unemployment advance.
Employees can make a PF withdrawal claim by following the processes outlined below on the EPFO member portal. Employees who have seeded their Aadhaar card details with their UAN account do not need their employer’s attestation to make a PF withdrawal.
- Visit the member portal of the EPFO
- Under the menu stating “Our Services,” select the option stating “For Employees”
- Click the option stating “Member UAN/Online Service (OCS/OTCP)” under the available tab stating “Services”, in the “For Employees” page
- Now in the next website opened, use your UAN, password, and Captcha code to access the portal
- Under the menu stating “Manage,” select the option stating “KYC”
- You will be sent to a different website. Check your KYC details by scrolling down to the bottom of the page to the “Digitally Approved KYC” section.
- If all of the KYC details are accurate, click the “Online Service” link from the top menu to proceed with the withdrawal
- From the available drop-down menu, select the option stating “CLAIM (FORM-31, 19, and 10C)”
- You’ll be taken to a new page with an “ONLINE CLAIM (FORM 31, 19 & 10C)” form that was generated automatically
- You will be asked to input, validate your registered bank account number
- A “Certificate of Undertaking” will be generated after the bank account has been verified. To continue, click “Yes” on the certificate pop-up
- When prompted, select the option stating “Proceed for Online Claim”
- Select the “PF ADVANCE (FORM – 31)” option from the drop-down menu next to the “I wish to apply for” option for online fund withdrawal
- A claim reason must be chosen from the drop-down menus adjacent to the “Purpose for which advance is required” option. It is also necessary to fill out the areas for the employee’s address and the amount of the advance
- Submit your withdrawal request by checking the box at the bottom of the page
- Certain scanned papers may be required to be uploaded (depends on the nature of withdrawal)
- The withdrawal amount will be removed from the EPF account and put into the corresponding bank account once the employer authorizes the withdrawal request. You will receive an SMS message on your registered cellphone number once the claim has been settled