The provision to withdraw money from EPF accounts was first announced last year in March 2020 under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
EPFO allows its members to withdraw non-refundable withdrawal of up to three months of basic wages and dearness allowance or 75% of the amount available in the EPF account, whichever is less. However, members can apply for lesser amounts as well.
The decision has been taken by the labour ministry due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Added to this, ‘mucormycosis’ or black fungus has been declared an epidemic recently.
“In such trying times, EPFO endeavours to lend a helping hand to its members by meeting their financial needs. Members who have already availed of the first COVID-19 advance can now opt for a second advance also. The provision and process for withdrawal of the second COVID-19 advance are the same as in the case of the first advance,” said the press release issued by the ministry today.
“Considering the urgent need of members for financial support in these trying times, it has been decided to accord top priority to COVID-19 claims. EPFO is committed to settle these claims within three days of their receipt. For this, EPFO has deployed a system driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements is complete in all respects. Auto-mode of settlement enables EPFO to reduce the claim settlement cycle to just 3 days as against the statutory requirement to settle the claims within 20 days,” said the release.
The COVID-19 advance has been a great help to the EPF members during the pandemic, especially for those having monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000, the labour ministry said. As on date, EPFO has settled more than 76.31 lakh COVID-19 advance claims thereby disbursing a total of Rs. 18,698.15 crore.