The circular released by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) provides a list of documents that an eligible employee is required to submit, along with the joint pension application form, to apply for a higher EPS pension. The circular also lays down the process to be followed by the field offices to accept such applications.
The circular, dated June 14, 2023, is applicable for an eligible employee who does not have proof of joint request/undertaking/permission (required for making a contribution to the EPF account on full/higher salary for those where basic salary exceeded the wage limit). In such cases, the EPFO field offices can accept higher pension applications as per the following procedure.
Field offices are required to verify that:
- Employer’s share of PF contribution has been remitted on employee’s pay exceeding the prevalent statutory wage ceiling of Rs 5000/Rs 6500/Rs 15000 per month from the day the pay exceeded the wage ceiling or Nov 16, 1995, whichever is later, till date/till the date of retirement or superannuation as the case may be AND
- Administrative charges payable by the employer have been remitted on such higher wages AND
- EPF account of employee has been updated with interest as per Para 60 of EPFS, 1952, on the basis of such contribution received.
Along with the specified process, the field offices need to ensure that at least one of the following documents is submitted along with the joint pension application form:
- Wage details submitted by the employer along with applications for validation of option/joint options
- Any salary slip/letter from employer authenticated by employer
- Copy of joint request and undertaking from employer
- Letter from PF office issued prior to 4.11.2022 indicating PF contribution on higher wages
The circular further states that those employees who have not submitted proof of joint declaration while applying for higher EPS pension can submit the same at the time of final claim settlement through their last employer. Joint Request and undertaking of employer for permission under Para 26(6) (pro forma enclosed) can be submitted by pensioners/members any time before the grant of pension on higher wages.
Do note that the last date to apply for a higher EPS pension is June 26, 2023. The EPFO has already provided an option to delete any higher pension application form submitted earlier (provided it is not verified by the employer) and re-submit it. What happens once the joint option form is submitted
Once the application is received, it will be processed in accordance with the circular’s instructions. The Regional P.F. Commissioner will handle the aforementioned application forms in the manner listed below once they are received within the time frame stated in the Joint Option Form.
a) A facility will be provided for which URL will be informed shortly. Once received, the regional PF Commissioner will put up adequate notice on the notice board and banners for wider public information.
b) Each application will be registered and digitally logged. The receipt number will be provided to the applicant.
c) The application will land into the employer’s login whose verification with digital signature/e-sign will be essential for further processing.
d) RPFC will cause each application to be converted into e-file, as far as possible.
e) The concerned 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.
f) The concerned SS/AO will mark out discrepancies, if any and send it after due examination, with the rule position to APFC/RPFC-II for deciding the case.
g) The concerned APF/RPFC-II shall examine each case of joint option on higher salary and the decision shall be intimated to the application through e-mail or post. Efforts will be made to intimate them through telephone/SMS also.
A weekly monitoring report will be sent to the appropriate zonal office by the officer in charge of the related regional office. The pension division at head office will receive a weekly report from the zonal office detailing the collective position of the zones.