Covid-19: EPFO allows subscribers to correct age-proof documents online
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has allowed people to correct discrepancies in age-proof documents online, a move that is likely to help 90% of its 60 million subscribers under the Rs 15,000 a month salary bracket after reports that many of them were unable to produce valid papers to withdraw money from their accounts as per relaxed norms announced in a Covid-19 relief package on March 26, government officials said.
“EPFO has issued instructions to all field offices to ensure that all date of birth-related correction requests are expeditiously attended to and all subscribers facing financial stress due to COVID-19 pandemic must get money from their provident fund (PF) accounts online,” one of the officials said requesting anonymity.
The official quoted above said on several occasions poor workers could not withdraw their hard-earned money post-retirement because their age in the record was different from their claim forms. “Thus, EPFO has decided to relax age proof norms,” he said.
“The change in date of birth shall be accepted as per Aadhaar up to a maximum range of plus or minus three years with reference to the EPFO record,” the official said.
A subscriber can submit the correction requests online. EPFO can validate the date of birth of a subscriber online with Aadhaar instantaneously after the member files an application.
At present, subscribers can get their date of birth corrected by producing any of these documents —birth certificate issued by registrar of births and deaths, any education-related certificate, service records of central or state organisations, medical certificate by a civil surgeon, Aadhaar or any other document issued by a government department.
A labour ministry spokesperson confirmed the development.
Relief to EPFO subscribers is a part of the Rs 1.7 lakh crore welfare package under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKBY) announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month.
Under the relief package, the government would contribute both the share of the employee and the employer in the PF accounts of establishments that have fewer than 100 employees, and where 90% of the employees earn less than Rs 15,000 per month for the next three months.
The government has also amended the PF regulation scheme to allow employees to withdraw, on a non-refundable advance basis, 75% of the amount, or up to three months of wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.