The Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a saving scheme developed by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). It is a retirement fund created for salaried employees and is established under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act in 1952. The EPF was initially provided for industrial workers but was later extended to all salaried employees. According to the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, all organizations that employ 20 people or more are required to register to the EPF and make monthly contributions.
Since the purpose of the EPF is to provide employees with a source of income after retirement, the funds accumulated should ideally be withdrawn at that time. However, there are cases where the EPFO allows subscribers to withdraw the funds in their PF account before retirement.
Get the PF withdrawal application processed through your previous employer:
Unlike the above two options, PF withdrawal can also be filed via your previous employer. Most companies will ask for a duly filled withdrawal form along with a blank cheque and will get your PF request processed via the EPF office. Getting in touch with your previous company’s HR manager is the best way to go about this.
Why Early PF Withdrawal Isn’t a Great Idea
PF amount is a corpus that you gradually build so as to ensure enough money on retirement. PF is a great financial instrument to help you save a little amount every month and that too at a great interest rate of 8.75% p.a. This interest earned on your PF account is tax-free (if withdrawn after 5 years of PF account opening). Keeping in mind all these U+0062enefits, PF amount withdrawal is not a great idea unless absolutely necessary.
In case you’re switching jobs, EPF should preferably be transferred rather than withdrawn.
There are several reasons that make PF withdrawal not a very great option. A few reasons are listed below.
- PF amount is meant as your retirement corpus and should ideally not be touched before retirement. This fosters the habit of saving and makes life stress-free for employed individuals
- If you withdraw your PF amount within 5 years of opening the PF account, you will have to pay tax on the interest earned. Otherwise, interest on PF amounts is tax free under section 80C of the Income Tax Act
- You can easily transfer your PF account to your new company in case you switch your job
Withdrawing PF while you are employed is actually against the rulesProvident Fund is a fund that is made up of contributions by the employee and the employer for the respective period of employment. PF is an effective financial instrument to enable you generate enough corpus for post-retirement phase.
Generally, 12% of the basic monthly salary goes into your PF account while the same amount is contributed by your employer too. Your PF is essentially a corpus meant to be used after retirement; however, there are provisions which let you withdraw the PF amount earlier too.
Situations When PF Withdrawal Becomes Difficult
Sunil left his first job 5 years ago but has still not withdrawn his PF amount. Last week when he decided to initiate the PF amount withdrawal process, he was surprised to know that the company had shut down. Sunil does not know how to obtain his PF amount which is now over Rs.2 Lacs.
Ashok had submitted his PF documents to his previous employer for withdrawal of PF amount. However, the employer kept the form as it is and did not do anything about it. It’s been 2 months and still Ashok could not get his ex-employer to start the PF withdrawal procedure for him.
The above two problems are just examples of situations wherein individuals might want to withdraw the amount in their PF accounts. However, not all of us are sure about the procedure involved.
Ways to Withdraw PF Amount:
Although withdrawal of PF isn’t allowed while you are still employed, there are ways to get this amount in case you need it badly. You can make this withdrawal in case you have switched your job and do not want to get your PF account transferred.
Form 19 which is available either with employers or can be downloaded from EPFI website, is to be filled and submitted for withdrawing the PF amount. Once the application is submitted to the regional EPF Office, the PF amount along with the interest earned is received by the applicant within three months from the date of application. Here are three different ways in which you can easily withdraw your PF sum.
- Apply for PF amount withdrawal via UAN that is Universal Account Number: If you have UAN then you can directly apply for pf withdrawal. You do not require your previous employer’s approval for getting this application processed. However, the only challenge with this option is that most employers do not share the UAN with employees and in the absence of UAN this option cannot be availed.
Submit your PF withdrawal application directly to the regional PF Office: Get a PF withdrawal form, fill it and submit the same directly to the regional Provident Fund Office. This procedure requires identity attestation since the PF office would want to be sure whether the right person is applying for withdrawal. Hence, your withdrawal form needs to be attested by one of the following listed authorities –
- Any Bank Manager
- A Gazetted Officer
- Magistrate/ Post/ Sub Post Master/ President of Village Panchayat/ Notary Public
Attestation by Bank Manager is best when the bank is where you maintain your account. Since this direct method of application has chances of fraud so EPF office generally asks for a letter stating the reason for direct application. Non-cooperation from employer is a valid reason but only if you have a proof for that. Also, attaching a proof of employment letter is a plus.
Conditions where the EPFO permits PF withdrawal
- 60 days of unemployment
Partial withdrawal is permitted under the following circumstances
- Purchase or construction of a house
- Purchase of land
- Home renovation
- Repayment of home loans
- 12 months before retirement
With regard to partial withdrawal, the subscriber has to complete a specific number of years of service. Moreover, there are specified amounts that can be withdrawn for each of the reasons listed by the EPFO.
Filing a withdrawal claim
Withdrawal claims can be filed either online or through the submission of a physical form.
Submitting a physical form
Claims for PF withdrawal can be made through submission of a physical form. This involves downloading a Composite Claim Form (Aadhaar) from the EPFO portal, filling it out correctly and then submitting it to the respective EPFO office for approval.
If a subscriber chooses the Non-Aadhaar Composite Claim Form, the information provided will have to be attested by the employer before it is submitted to the EPF office for the document to be processed.
Submitting a Form Online
Subscribers can file a withdrawal claim using his or her UAN on the EPFO portal. It is important that the UAN has been activated and the bank details and KYC documentation updated on the portal.
More often than not, the subscriber's UAN is provided by their employer and is printed on the salary slip. If a subscriber has not been provided with their UAN, they can use the following steps to find out:
- Click on the tab labeled ‘Know Your UAN status’
- Fill the details requested
- Enter the authorization PIN sent through SMS to the registered mobile number
- The UAN is sent as an SMS to the subscriber’s mobile number
After receiving the UAN, it must also activate it in order to be able to use the services of the EPFO. The steps to activate your UAN are as follows:
- Visit the EPFO website and click on the tab ‘For Employees’.
- Select the option titled ‘Our Services’.
- Under the ‘Our Services’ section is an option ‘Member UAN/Online Services.’
- The subscriber will then be redirected to the UAN portal, where they would have to click on the option ‘Activate your UAN’.
- The subscriber will have to fill out a form to generate the authorization PIN and must enter it to activate their UAN.
- When the UAN is activated, the subscriber will receive an SMS confirming the same.
- The subscriber will also receive a password to access their EPF account information through the UAN portal.
The steps to file an online claim for PF withdrawal are as follows:
- Login to the EPFO portal using the UAN and password.
- Verify KYC details by clicking on the ‘Manage’ tab.
- Next, visit the ‘Our Services’ tab and click on the option titled ‘Claim’ from the drop-down list.
- Under the section titled ‘I Want to Apply For’, the subscriber will then be required to choose the type of withdrawal claim they wish to file—full withdrawal, partial withdrawal or pension withdrawal.
- The drop-down box with the types of withdrawal will only be displayed if the subscriber is eligible to avail it.
- The claim is then forwarded to the employer for approval. Once approved, the PF amount will be credited to the subscriber’s account within 10 days.
EPF Withdrawal Without Employer Signature
Trying to get a signature from your previous employer can be a quite a hassle if you have left your job on a bad note. Earlier, it was mandatory for employees to have the attestation of their employers to facilitate a withdrawal. Today, the EPFO has eased the process on realising how impractical the situation of having your employer’s signature to make a withdrawal can be. The introduction of the EPFO’s member portal and the UAN have eased all processes related to EPF, including making withdrawals. There are two steps to make a PF withdrawal without your employer’s signature: The first is with an Aadhaar card and the second is without an Aadhaar card.
With an Aadhaar Card:
- To ease the process, the EPFO has a withdrawal option on its member portal just by linking your Aadhaar card. By linking your Aadhaar card, no attestation from your employer is required to carry out the process.
- The Aadhaar card and salary bank account should have been verified by your employer though, and the details embedded in the EPFO’s member portal.
- Next step is to make sure that your UAN is activated. Having these areas covered, you can now start the process of making a PF withdrawal without your employer’s signature.
- On the EPFO web portal, download the new EPF forms to make a withdrawal - Form 19, Form 31 and Form 10C.
On these forms enter your name (as stated on your UAN, Aadhaar card and bank account), registered mobile number, address, PAN card number, reason for leaving and date of joining.
- Form 19 UAN is for making PF withdrawals.
- Form 10C UAN is for making withdrawals from your pension benefits.
- Attach a cancelled cheque for the EPFO to verify your bank account number. Next, submit the form and the cancelled cheque to the nearest EPF office.
- Note that your bank account number and the bank account number stated in UAN database should match. Also, your details mentioned in the form should match that on the UAN database. Any discrepancies with regard to the details could result in a disapproval to make a withdrawal from the EPFO.
Without an Aadhaar Card:
- For those who do not have an Aadhaar card, the process of making a withdrawal without the employer’s signature can get tedious.
- Download the forms (Form 19, Form 31 and Form 10C) from the EPFO’s member portal.
- Next, fill in the details and get an attestation from a credible authority, such as - a Gazetted officer, magistrate, member of the EPFO, or manager of the bank you hold your salary account with.
- Make sure that you get a signature or stamp on every page of your form and verified bank details.
- To avoid cases of fraud, one will have to state reason for direct application of withdrawal. Stating ‘Non-cooperation’ from ex-employer is usually a good enough reason.
- Attach an indemnity bond with a 100 Rupee stamp paper.
- Attach copies of your payslips, appointment letter, Form 19, and your employee ID card.
- Lastly, attach a copy of your KYC documents - identity and address proof - before submitting all the forms at the EPF office.
PF Joint Declaration Form
A PF joint declaration form is a form made between the employee and his/her employer when the total contribution towards PF is at a higher rate - in other words, when the total wages exceeds the wage ceiling limit of Rs.6,500 per month. The form can be accessed and downloaded from the EPFO’s member portal. Here are the steps required to fill the form before submission:
- Address the form to the regional PF commissioner.
- State your name and your employer’s name.
- Fill in your name, your father’s or husband’s name, PF account number, date of birth and lastly your date of joining and leaving.
- Next, attach a document of identification - either a copy of your Aadhaar card, PAN card, voters ID, Passport or driving license.
- Sign the form. You will then have to get the attestation of an authority and the establishment seal.
EPF Login for Employer
With the introduction of the EPFO’s member portal, making contributions towards an employee's PF account for the employer has become relaxed and easy. Employers first need to have their company registered on the EPFO’s member portal and then can make contributions, check transactions and balances, and attest claims by employees digitally. Listed are the steps required to login to an employer’s account using the EPFO’s member portal.
- The first thing is to register one’s company on the EPFO member portal. Log on to the EPFO site (http://esewa.epfoservices.in/choose_ofc_details.php), enter the state the company is situated in and the establishment code.
- Once the registration is done, an employer can now login to his/her account on the site - https://employerclaims.epfoservices.in/
- Next, enter the registered username and password and login to the account.
- From here, an employer can make contributions, digitally sign employee’s claims, check balances, transactions and so on.
EPF Customer Care
For those in need of contacting the EPFO for queries or grievances, the EPFO member portal has an option of accessing the contact number and email ID of the regional EPF office. In case of issues such as balance, refund and transfer discrepancies, the dedicated EPF customer care will take of any queries. In case of delays in transfer claims and so on, the customer care will update members on their customer toll free number, if in case their member portal is down. To find the customer care number, follow the steps:
- Visit the EPFO member portal - http://www.epfbng.kar.nic.in/
- Click on ‘contact us’ on the top bar.
- Check the toll free number of the EPF regional office and call to answer your queries by the EPFO.
EPF Balance Full Statement
Back then, one could get their balance statement of the contributions they made the whole year at the beginning of each year. If there were corrections, the process was tedious. Thankfully, with the introduction of the EPFO’s member portal, checking one’s balance, accessing the full balance statement or downloading the PF passbook is just a few clicks away. Listed below are the steps required to check one’s full balance statement.
- Log on to the EPF balance page - http://www.epfindia.com/site_en/KYEPFB.php
- At the bottom of the page, click on the ‘know your balance’ tool button.
- The ‘member balance page’ will then prop up. Select the state where your PF account is held.
- Fill in your EPF account number, your registered mobile number and your name as stated in your EPF account.
- Click on ‘submit’. Next, an SMS stating your balance will be sent to your mobile number. You can check your full balance statement and download it if required. To download the statement, click on ‘download passbook’.