The Employees Provident Fund, or popularly the Provident Fund (PF), is a long-term investment tool that is built by contributions from the employee, the employer and, in some cases, the government. In simple terms, PF is a social security programme run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Employees use this as a means to provide them a financial safety net when they retire from service. The amount deposited in a PF account over the years, along with the specified interest, is paid out to the employee on his/her retirement.
When Can You Withdraw?
The Provident Fund can be withdrawn by the employee in these cases:
— At the time of retirement (On or after 58 years of age).
— If unemployed for two months.
— By the nominated person in case of the employee’s death before the retirement age.
However, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the EPF revised several withdrawal rules last year to allow easy access to people facing financial hardships. The new rules state that PF account holders can withdraw money equivalent to three months of their basic salary plus dearness allowance or 75 percent of the net balance in their PF account, whichever is lower. A key change was made to allow a person to withdraw PF corpus if he/she faces unemployment before retirement due to lockdown or retrenchment.
How To Do That?
Claims for withdrawal of money from PF accounts can be made online. These claims should be settled within three working days while offline claims may take up to 20 days. Follow these steps for online withdrawal of PF money:
Step 1: Open the EPFO member portal.
Step 2: Under the “Services” TAB, select the “For Employees” option.
Step 3: On the new webpage, click on the “Member UAN/Online Service (OCS/OTCP)” option.
A new window will open.
Step 4: Log in to the portal using UAN, password, and the Captcha code.
Step 5: Select the “KYC” option under the “Manage” tab.
Step 6: You will be sent to a new webpage. At the bottom of the page, find the “Digitally Approved KYC” section and check your KYC details. Ensure the details are correct.
Step 7: To complete the withdrawal, go to the top menu and select “Online Service”.
Step 8: Click on the “CLAIM (FORM-31, 19 & 10C)” option from the dropdown menu.
There are different riders and limits for withdrawing money for various reasons.
You can cite these reasons for withdrawal of PF money:
— Housing Loan for construction or purchase of residence. For this you must have been in service for at least 60 months.
— Marriage of self, children, siblings or for post matriculation education of children. A minimum of 84 months of service is required for this claim to be accepted.
— You can withdraw up to 90 percent of your PF money one year before retirement. But you must be above 54 years of age.
— You can use a part of your PF money for medical expenses, natural calamity, purchase of equipment by the physically handicapped, closure of factories, cut in electricity in establishments.