EPF (Employees Provident Fund) is a retirement corpus of salaried employees accumulated during their employment. The scheme is managed by EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organization), the largest Social Security Organization of India, under which employees and employers make an equal contribution towards the fund. Every month 12% of the basic salary of the employee goes into the EPF account along with the equal contribution from the employer and the entire savings can be withdrawn by the employee at the time of retirement. The EPF contribution is EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) making it a highly tax-effective investment.
When can you withdraw from your EPF account?
The retirement fund can be withdrawn at the following stages:
1. After the retirement from the service
EPF forms an important part of retirement Corpus in the lives of salaried employees and hence the provident fund can be withdrawn only at the time of retirement.
2. In the case of unemployment
If the member of EPFO is unemployed for continuous one month, he can withdraw75% of his PF and rest 25% is carried forward as he secures new employment. Earlier, 100% withdrawal was permitted in case of two months of continuous unemployment.
3. Partial withdrawal during the course of employment
Premature withdrawals are normally not encouraged. However, employees are allowed to dig into their PF savings in certain compelling situations listed below.
- Children’s Marriage
- Education of self or children
- Emergency medical expenses for immediate family members
- Purchasing of house
- Renovation of house
- Repaying a home loan.
How to withdraw EPF online
PF withdrawal has become simpler with the launch of online facility by EPFO. Earlier employees could withdraw the provident fund only after taking the attestation of the employer on the EPF form. Not any more, one can withdraw EPF savings by visiting EPFO portal and following few quick steps. However, certain pre-requisites need to be fulfilled before initiating the online withdrawal process
- Please ensure that your UAN number is activated. (UAN or Universal Account Number is a permanent number issued by EPFO to all the employees covered under them. This number remains with the employee throughout his/her service irrespective of switching multiple jobs. The number is provided by EPFO, however, your employer is responsible to activate your UAN before issuing it to you)
- Your Bank account details like account number, IFSC code and such other particulars are linked with allotted UAN
- PAN and Aadhar details are incorporated into EPF database.
Quick guidelines for Online EPF withdrawal
Employees can withdraw their EPF balance through EPFO portal. Here are the steps to navigate through the site.
- Open the EPFO portal – https://www.epfindia.gov.in/ or https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/
- You will find different options on the Home page of EPFO such as ‘our services’, .status of establishments’, EPFO Corner and Miscellaneous
- Click on ‘Our Services’ tab that is available on the left corner of the page.
- A drop-down box will appear
- Click on ‘for Employees ‘option in the drop-down menu
- A new window will open with ‘For Employees’ heading
- You will find three menus: Services-Important links-Downloads
- Under Service Menu list of options will be there, Choose “Member UAN/Online Service (OCS/OTCP)”.
- You will be redirected you to a fresh webpage. Enter your UAN, password, and the Captcha code to log into the website.
- You will land on a Home page with various tabs –Home, View, Manage, Account and Online services
- Click on ‘Manage’ Tab.
- A drop-down box will be displayed.
- Select ‘KYC’ under Manage button.
- A new webpage will appear. At the bottom of the page, you will find the “Digitally Approved KYC” option. Click on it to view your KYC details like bank details, PAN number, Aadhar Number. Go through the KYC particulars carefully and ensure that the details are correct.
- Once you are sure that all the KYC details displayed are correct, go to the top of the page and choose the tab ’online services’
- A drop-down box will appear. Select CLAIM FORM-31, 19 & 10C from drop down.
- Automatically generated ‘CLAIM FORM’ will be displayed on a new page.
- The form contains
- ‘Member Details’ with Name and Date of Birth KYC details with PAN and Aadhar number
- Branch name and address
- Service Details with Member id, date of joining EPF and Reason of leaving
- You need to fill in the last 4 digits of your registered bank account number and verify the same.
- Once you verify the bank account number, ‘A Certificate of Undertaking’ is generated with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ options. The undertaking essentially seeks your approval to credit the EPF proceeds into the bank account specified by you
- Click on ‘Yes’ to proceed.
- Click on the “Proceed for Online Claim” option and subsequently select “PF ADVANCE (FORM – 31)” option from the drop-down menu. You can find it next to the “I want to apply for” option.
- It will prompt you to specify the reason for your EPF withdrawal.
- Various reasons like illness, medical expenses, loss of wages, natural calamities, house construction Etc…
- Click on the suitable reason to proceed.
- Fill in your address and the amount to be withdrawn
- Click on the checkbox to proceed with submission of withdrawal application
- Scan and Upload the required documents if necessary
- Your application will be forwarded to your employer for approval.
- Once approved, your PF amount will be released and credited into your bank account.
Why should you Withdraw EPF Online?
There are many advantages of withdrawing the EPF online and some of them are listed below
- Simplified process – you can initiate and withdraw your PF from the comfort of your home just by few clicks. All that you require is an activated UAN and seeding the same with Aadhar number and PAN number along with bank details. You can skip going EPFO physically and submitting the form.
- Quick Processing – it takes lesser time to process the online withdrawal request and if all the documents are in place, the amount will be credited into your account within 15 days.
- Previous employer’s attestation is not required – this is possibly the biggest advantage of opting online withdrawal. Earlier employees were at the mercy of the employers to secure attestation on the form and concerned documents. With the introduction of the online facility, documents get verified easily and also saves them from visiting the employer’s office.