Economy

EPFO settles 94.41 lakh claims worth ₹35,445 crore during April-August

PTI New Delhi | Updated on September 08, 2020 Published on September 08, 2020

To lessen the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, the EPFO is committed to helping its more than six crore subscribers, 66 lakh pensioners and 12 lakh employers through innovation and excellence in service delivery.   -  The Hindu

Temporary hit to long-term savings   -  istock.com

Retirement fund body introduces the auto mode of settlement for Covid-19 advances and illness-related claims

Retirement fund body EPFO has settled 94.41 lakh claims totalling ₹35,445 crore during April-August despite Covid-19 related restrictions, an official statement said on Tuesday.

During this period, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has settled around 32 per cent more claims as compared to the corresponding period of last year (April-August 2019), while the amount disbursed increased by about 13 per cent.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, EPFO has been able to settle a staggering 94.41 lakh claims thereby disbursing about ₹35,445 crore to its members during the period of April-August, 2020,” the labour ministry statement said.

 

To help its members tide over the liquidity needs during this crisis, EPFO fast-tracked settling of Covid-19 advances and illness-related claims.

It introduced the auto mode of settlement for these two categories of advances.

Auto mode of settlement reduced the claim settlement cycle to just three days for most claims in these two categories against the statutory requirement to settle claims within 20 days, it said.

Notably, 55 per cent of advance claims settled during April-August 2020 were related to the recently introduced Covid-19 advance, while around 31 per cent of advances settled during the period pertained to illness claims.

 

Wage-wise data

The wage-wise analysis highlights that almost 75 per cent of Covid-19 advances and roughly 79 per cent of illness related claims were settled for provident fund (PF) subscribers belonging to wage slab of less than ₹15,000.

Timely availability of PF advances prevented many low-wage earners from falling into debt, providing social security support to the weakest section of the workforce during these adverse times, it said.

Partial withdrawal claims or advances under EPF scheme have more than doubled, with data reflecting about 212 per cent growth for the period April-August 2020 as compared to April-August 2019, it added.

While there was an increase in the number of advance claims, there was a significant decline of about 35 per cent in the number of final PF settlement claims from April-August 2020 period as compared to the same period last year.

Final PF settlement claim allows members to withdraw their PF balance after quitting their job, superannuation, termination or at the time of retirement.

With the EPFO settling advance claims within three days, PF accumulations are now seen as liquid assets that can timely meet the need of the subscribers during the crisis, the statement said.

Consequently, members have shown greater trust in EPFO by not opting for final withdrawal or closure of the account, instead choosing to apply for PF advances to meet their financial needs.

This trend of decline in final settlement of claims and rise in advance claims also needs to be seen in the light of ongoing outreach programs of EPFO through print and digital media as well as organising around 4,880 webinars during the pandemic, it said.

This has been coupled with excellence in services through automated claim settlement, auto-transfer of funds on change of jobs, introduction of multi-location claim settlement, regular updation of KYC of members, facility of filing claims through Umang app and robust grievance redressal mechanism.

To lessen the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, the EPFO is committed to helping its more than six crore subscribers, 66 lakh pensioners and 12 lakh employers through innovation and excellence in service delivery, it added.

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Published on September 08, 2020
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