The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), has permitted contributors to withdraw a non-refundable COVID-19 advance from their savings. This is the second time it has allowed such a relief measure due to the ongoing pandemic, the Labour Ministry said in a statement.
Members who have already availed the first COVID-19 advance can now opt for a second advance also. As per the Labour Ministry statement, the provision and process for withdrawal of the second COVID-19 advance is the same as in the case of the first advance.
The provision for special withdrawal to meet the financial need of members during the pandemic was introduced in March 2020, under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
Under this provision, 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 member’s credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, is provided. Members can apply for a lesser amount also.
Official figures show, cumulatively, that EPFO has settled more than 7.63 million COVID-19 advance claims, disbursing Rs 18,698.15 crores in all since the facility was made available. EPFO has at least 50 million subscribers.
To facilitate prompt settlement, EPFO has also deployed a system driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all members whose KYC requirements are complete in all respects. According to the government, the auto-mode of settlement has enabled EPFO to reduce the claim settlement cycle to three days as against the statutory requirement to settle the claims within 20 days.