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EPFO Issues Circular On Higher Pension; Eligibility, Documents, Application Process; Details Here

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The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has issued a circular to its field officers to implement the Supreme Court’s November order on higher pension. The EPFO circular has laid down the detailed guidelines on the eligibility of employees for higher pension, documents required, and application process.

“The central government vide letter dated 22.12.2022 has directed that requisite action may be taken by EPFO to implement the directions contained in para 44 (ix) of the judgment dated 04.11.2022 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court within the stipulated timelines. Government has further rected that adequate publicity may be made to the decisions taken by EPFO to implement the said directions,” the EPFO said in the circular dated Thursday, December 29, 2022.

Who Can Receive Higher Pension As Per EPFO?

The EPFO said the circular is related to such employees who contributed on higher wages under the EPF Scheme, and had further exercised their option prior to their retirement but their option request was explicitly denied by concerned office of the RPFC or the contribution on higher salary was refunded/ diverted back to provident fund accounts.

The Supreme Court in November in its ruling said, “the employees who had retired prior to September 1, 2014, without exercising any option under…the pre-amendment scheme have already exited from the membership thereof. They would not be entitled to the benefit of this judgment.”

It also said the employees who have retired before September 31, 2014, upon exercising option under 1995 scheme will be covered by the provisions of the pension scheme scheme as it stood prior to the amendment of 2014.

Who Can Apply Online For Higher Pension?

1) Pensioners who as employees had contributed on salary exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs 5,000 or 6,500;

2) Who exercised joint option under the proviso to Para 11(3) of the pre-amendment scheme while being members of EPS 1995; and

3) Their exercise of such option was declined by PF authorities.

Guidelines For Pensioners To Apply?

1) The request will be made in such form and manner as may be specified by the commissioner

2) The application form for validation will contain the disclaimer as ordered in the aforesaid government notification.

3) In case of share requiring adjustment from Provident Fund to Pension Fun and if any, re deposit to the fund, the explicit consent of the pensioner will bi given in the application form.

4) In case of transfer of funds from exempted provident fund trust to pension fund of EPFO, an undertaking of the trustee shall be submitted. The undertaking shall be to the effect that due contribution along with interest up to the date of payment, will be deposited within the specified period.

5) The method of deposit of such funds will follow through subsequent circulars.

What Are The Documents Required To Apply For Higher Pension?

The EPFO in its circular said the application form must contain the following specified documents for evidence and for further processing:

1) Proof of joint option under Para 26(6) of the EPF Scheme duly verified by the employer;

2) Proof of joint option under the proviso to erstwhile Para 11(3) duly verified by the employer;

3) Proof of remittance in Provident Fund on higher wages exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs 5,000/Rs 6,500;

4) Proof of remitiance in Pension Fund on higher wages exceeding the prevalent wage celling of Rs 5,000/Rs 6,500, if any; and

5) Written refusal of APFC or any other higher authority of EPFO to such requests/ remittance.

Process After Application Form Is Submitted

According to the EPFO circular, the application forms when received in the specified time period will be dealt with in the following manner by Regional PF Commissioner:

1) A facility-will be provided for which URL will be informed shortly. Once received, the Regional PF Commissioner shall put up adequate notice and banners on the noticeboard for wider public information.

2) Each application will be registered and digitally logged. The receipt number will be provided to the applicant.

3) The application will land into employer’s login whose verification with e-sign will be essential for further processing.

4) RPFC will cause each application to be converted into e-file, as far as possible.

5) The concerning dealing assistant will examine the papers including the note on receipt of due amount in the Pension Fund, and mark the case to Section Supervisor / Account Officer.

6) The concerning SS / AO will mark out any discrepancies and send it with the rule position to APFC / RPFC-II who after due examination will put the case to Officer-in charge of RO.

7) The OIC shall examine each case of pension on higher salary and dispose it by passing a speaking order that shall be intimated to the applicant through e-mail/post. Efforts will be made to intimate them through telephone/SMS.

In November, the SC bench, comprising Chief Justice U U Lalit and justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Pardiwala, said “the requirement of the members to contribute at the rate of 1.16 per cent of their salary to the extent such salary exceeds Rs 15,000 per month as an additional contribution under the amended scheme is held to be ultra vires the provisions of the 1952 Act”.

The SC said that the fund authorities shall implement the directives contained in the said judgment within a period of eight weeks. Employees who have not exercised the option to join the pension scheme must do so within six months, the bench said.

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