PF ( Provident Fund ) or EPF is also called the Employee Provident Fund Scheme. It is one where the employees contribute a small portion of their remuneration i.e. 12% of their basic pay every month. A matching amount is contributed by the employer. Such a contribution, together, form a corpus. This is to be used to fund the employee’s retirement. EPF withdrawal by employees can, however, be done earlier itself i.e. during the course of their employment. Such circumstances have been elaborated later in the article.
Here, it would be relevant to mention that EPF organisation has made the allotment of UAN i.e. the Universal Account Number compulsory for all the employees covered under the PF Act. UAN would be linked to the employee’s EPF account. The UAN remains portable throughout the lifetime of an employee and there is no need to apply for EPF transfer at the time of changing jobs.
1. When can EPF be withdrawn
One may choose to withdraw EPF completely or partially. EPF can be completely withdrawn under any of the following circumstances:
a. When an individual retires from employment
b. When an individual remains unemployed for a period of 2 months or more. Here, it needs a mention that the fact that the individual is unemployed for more than 2 months has to be certified by a gazetted officer.
Further, complete withdrawal of EPF while switching over from one job to another without remaining unemployed for 2 months or more(i.e. During the interim period between changing jobs), will be against the PF rules and regulations and therefore illegal.
Partial withdrawal of EPF can be done under certain circumstances and subject to certain prescribed conditions which have been discussed in brief below:
ii. Withdrawal permitted subject to furnishing of requisite documents as called for by the EPFO relating to the housing loan availed,
iii. The accumulation in the member’s PF account (or together with the spouse), including the interest, has to be more than Rs 20,000.
2. Procedure for EPF withdrawal
Broadly, withdrawal of EPF can be done either by:
- Submission of a physical application for withdrawal
- Submission of an online application
1. Submission of a physical application
For this, one can download the new composite claim (Aadhar)/ composite claim form (Non-Aadhar).
The new composite claim form (Aadhar) can be filled and submitted to the respective jurisdictional EPFO office without the attestation of the employer whereas, the new composite claim form (Non-aadhaar) shall be filled and submitted with the attestation of the employer to the respective jurisdictional EPFO office.
One may also note, that in case of partial withdrawal of EPF amount by an employee for various circumstances as discussed in the above table, very recently, the requirement to furnish various certificates has been done away with and the option of self-certification has been introduced for the EPF subscribers.
2. Submission of an online application
Interestingly, the EPFO has very recently come up with the online facility of withdrawal which has rendered the entire process easier and less time-consuming. Prerequisite: To apply for withdrawal of EPF online through EPF Portal, make sure that the following conditions are met:
- UAN (Universal Account Number) is activated and the mobile number used for activating the UAN is in working condition
- UAN is linked with your KYC i.e. Aadhaar, PAN and bank details along with the IFSC code.
If the above conditions are met, then the requirement of attestation of the previous employer to carry out the process of withdrawal can be done away with.
Steps to apply for EPF withdrawal online:
On the “For Employees” page, click on “UAN/Online Service (OCS/OTCP)” under “Services” section. This will take you to a new page – https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/. Here, you need to log in with your UAN and password.
After logging in, members are required to verify KYC under the “Manage” tab. Once you click on KYC, you will be redirected to a new webpage. On this webpage, scroll down to “Digitally Approved KYC” section and check your KYC details which will include PAN, Aadhaar and Bank Account. You should ensure that all your details are correct.
If all your KYC details are correct, then click on the “Online Service” tab in the top menu to proceed with the withdrawal. Click on “CLAIM (FORM – 31, 19, 10C & 10D). You will now be redirected to a new webpage where you can choose the claim form type – PF Withdrawal/PF Advance/Pension Withdrawal.
You can now proceed with the withdrawal claim by providing details and documents. For example: For PF Advance (Form 31), you will also be asked to upload a scanned copy of your cheque. You should upload the scanned copy of the cheque of the same bank account you had verified for KYC.