The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) issued a circular on 29 December 2022 to comply with the direction of the Supreme Court on higher pensions for eligible employees. The circular lays down the conditions for employees to receive a higher pension and how they can apply online.
Who is eligible to get a higher pension, according to EPFO?
The EPFO circular states that the employees who have contributed to higher wages mandated under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme are eligible for higher pensions. Additionally, they must have exercised the option for a higher pension before their retirement but was explicitly denied by the EPFO. Thus, the following pensioners can apply to get a higher pension:
- The employees who contributed on salary exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs.6,500 or 5,000.
- Exercised the joint option of the pre-amendment scheme under the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) while being a member of EPS-95.
- The EPFO declined the exercise of such an option.
Which pensioners are not eligible for a higher pension from the EPFO?
The circular has clarified that certain employees are not eligible for a higher pension after the Supreme Court order dated 4 November 2022:
- The employees who retired before 1 September 2014 without exercising the option under paragraph 11(3) of the pre-amendment scheme have exited from membership. Thus, they are not entitled to the benefits of this judgement.
- The employees who retired before 1 September 2014 upon exercising the option under paragraph 11(3) of the 1995 scheme will be covered under paragraph 11(3) of the pension scheme as it stood before the amendment of 2014.
How can eligible pensioners apply for a higher pension?
The eligible pensioners should visit their concerned regional EPFO office with the filled application form and required documents to apply for a higher pension. The process is as follows:
- The pensioners should make a request in such form and manner as specified by the commissioner.
- The application form for validation contains the disclaimer as ordered in the government notification.
- In the case of a share adjustment from a provident to a pension fund and a re-deposit of the fund, the explicit consent of the pensioner should be given in the application form.
- In the case of a share transfer of funds from exempted provident fund trust to the pension fund of EPFO, the pensioner should provide an undertaking of the trustee. The undertaking should be to the effect that due contributions and interest up to the payment date will be deposited within the specified time.
The EPFO will issue further circulars regarding how the amount would be deposited for a higher pension.
Documents required to apply for a higher pension
- Proof of joint option under para 26(6) of the EPF scheme verified by the employer.
- Proof of joint option under the proviso of para 11(3) verified by the employer.
- Proof of remittance in the provident fund account on higher wages exceeding the current wage of Rs.6,500 or Rs.5,000.
- Written refusal of higher authority of EPFO or APFC to such remittance or request.
If pensioners face a grievance to get a higher pension, they can raise a complaint on EPFiGMS after submitting their request form and payment of the due contribution.
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