Banks are adopting different procedures while releasing pension or seeking certificates from pensioners at different periodicity, the Personnel Ministry has said. The ministry has issued consolidated guidelines to chairman and managing directors (CMDs) of pension disbursing banks to create awareness among Central Pension Processing Centre (CPPC)/ bank branches on updated rules and instructions in this regard.
The move comes after an analysis of the grievances received by the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare under the Personnel Ministry. "It has been observed that updated and consolidated instructions will help improve the processing of pensioner's requests by banks and others," the department said in an order issued on Friday.
Hence, an attempt has been made herein, to consolidate relevant instructions issued by the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare from time to time with regard to disbursement of pension, it said. "These banks are adopting different procedures, while releasing pension/ family pension or seeking declarations/certificates from pensioners / family pensioners at different periodicity," the department said while issuing the consolidated guidelines.
There are 65.26 lakh central government pensioners. These integrated guidelines are on different matters, including the banks insisting spouses to open separate bank accounts for getting family pension, submissions of life certificate and disability certificate and on requirement of family pensioner to submit 'form 14' on death of a pensioner, among others.
All banks have been advised to comply with these consolidated guidelines and to give wide publicity by putting up these instructions on their websites and also on the notice boards of the branches of the bank, etc. "On death of a pensioner, the spouse is not required to submit form 14, if he/she was having a joint account with the pensioner and authorisation for payment of family pension exists in the Pension Payment Order (PPO) in his/her favour, the guidelines said.
"In such cases, a spouse will be required to provide only a copy of the death certificate to the pension paying branch in order to commence his/her family pension," they said.
Pension disbursing bank will identify the family pensioners based on the information furnished in PPO and its own Know Your Customer procedure without insisting him/her to physically present himself/herself in the paying bank, the department said, citing its instructions issued in September 2013 in this regard.
Banks will not insist on opening a new account when the spouse already has a joint account with the pensioner and authorisation for payment of family pension exists in the PPO in his/her favour, the consolidated guidelines said. Pension disbursing banks will also accept Aadhaar-enabled digital life certificate "Jeevan Pramaan", according to the guidelines.
Pensioners who are 80 years and above can submit life certificates in the month of October also. Life certificate has to be submitted by every pensioner/family pensioners in the month of November every year. "No fresh certificate of disability would be required in the case of a child with permanent disability," the guidelines said.
A disabled child will also be required to self-certify every year that he/she has not started earning his/her livelihood, according to the instructions. If family pension has been sanctioned to a disabled child and the disability is temporary, the guardian of such disabled child shall produce a disability certificate once in every five years to the effect that he/she continues to suffer from such disorder /disability in order to continue family pension, the guidelines said.
"If the spouse is a recipient of family pension, no certificate of remarriage is required to be furnished by him/her, the consolidated guidelines said. "At the time of commencement of family pension, an undertaking will be obtained from him/her to the effect that in the event of his/her re marriage, he/she will report the fact to the pension disbursing bank promptly, they said.
However, childless widow of deceased government servant and disabled child of a pensioner/government servant will continue to get family pension even if they get married/remarried, as per the guidelines. A family pensioner, other than spouse, has to submit a declaration of non-marriage/non re-marriage every six months. The family pension is discontinued if she/he gets married/re-married.
The Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare has issued directions to all the pension disbursing banks to send SMS/emails to all their pensioners on October 24, November 1, November 15 and November 25 every year reminding them to submit their annual life certificates by November 30.
"The department directed all pension disbursing banks to make an exception list as on 15 December every year of those pensioners who fail to submit their life certificate and issue another SMS/email to them for submitting the life certificate," the guidelines said. "The bank in addition will also ask such pensioners through SMS/email whether they are interested in submission of life certificate through a chargeable door-step service, on a nominal charge not exceeding Rs 60," they said.