Over 76 lakh salaried workers have taken advance from their EPF savings to tide over the financial crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Labour Ministry has said.
The provision for special withdrawal to meet the financial need of members during pandemic was introduced in March 2020, under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
"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. 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," the ministry said in a release.
Non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, is provided under this provision. Members can apply for lesser amount also.
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has now allowed its members to avail second non-refundable COVID-19 advance to support them amidst the pandemic.
"Members who have already availed the first COVID-19 advance can now opt for a second advance also. The provision and process for withdrawal of second COVID-19 advance is same as in the case of first advance," the release said.
Considering 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 and has deployed a system driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements are 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," it said.
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