To overcome the current delays in claim settlement, the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to replace the existing system of multiple claim forms for funds withdrawal. A single claim form will be introduced to ease the process. Additionally, self-certification will suffice for EPFO withdrawals.
A senior EPFO official stated that a single composite claim form signed by the subscriber will act as self-certification for the withdrawal process. The subscriber would not be required to furnish any other documents to the EPFO offices. This process would be applicable to accounts that are not linked to Aadhaar as well. However, in that case, the subscriber is required to get the signature of the employee as attestation.
For the purpose of withdrawal under the current rules, a subscriber has to provide various certificates as proof. So, if the employee wants to withdraw from his/her EPF account for housing purposes, he/she will be required to submit the utilisation certificate.
Under the newly introduced declaration form, this is not required. Likewise, advances sought for marriage expenses or further education of children would not mandate the submission of marriage certificate or any other documentation.
As per the existing rules, the EPF subscriber is allowed to partially withdraw the funds accumulated at 6-7 pre-defined instances. A maximum amount that equates to 90% of the accumulated fund can be claimed for housing purposes. Complete withdrawal of the fund is not allowed until the employee is out of employment for a minimum period of two months.
In order to avail advances for medical purposes, it is necessary to submit medical certificates. This practice would continue for some time; however, the EPFO plans to raise a proposal to do away with this in the future.
The EPF fund is accumulated through a 12% contribution from the salary of the employee and a matching contribution from the employer. The interest accrued on the entire fund is also added to the corpus. EPFO currently has 3.4 crore active subscribers.