If your company subscribes to a provident fund, then as an employee, a portion of your salary is deducted every month and sent to the Provident Fund account. The funds are accumulated over time based on the contribution of both you and your employer.
The amount is usually withdrawn after retirement. But, there may be circumstances when you resign from the company and you might require the money. Irrespective of the situation, you can withdraw the money by the help of your UAN (Universal Account Number). The number is granted to you by the EPFO and can be retained even when you are switching jobs so that you don’t have to change your UAN every time you change jobs.
But first, let us look at the basics of the Provident Fund.
What is a provident fund?
Provident fund is the best and safest way to develop a financial reserve for the retirement period. Around 12% of your basic salary is transferred towards the PF account. This includes 3.67% from the employer. The remaining 8.33% of the 12% is diverted towards your Employee’s Pension Scheme (EPS). If you earn more than Rs 6,500, then only 8.33% of the amount is transferred to EPS. The rest of the amount is sent to the PF account. Notably, if you earn more than Rs 15,000, then it is compulsory to register yourself under the EPF scheme.
However, the money in your EPF account can be withdrawn based on certain rules. And, these are:
• You can withdraw money from your account only after retirement and not during employment.
• But, you can make a partial withdrawal if you face a situation such as a medical emergency, buying a house or child’s higher education. You have to submit the withdrawal claim as per the partial withdrawal rules.
• Even though the EPF amount can be withdrawn after retirement, until you reach 55 years of age, early retirement is not considered. According to EPFO, you are allowed to withdraw 90% of the corpus a year before you retire. But, you must not be less than 54 years of age.
• According to the new rules of EPFO, after one month of unemployment, 75% of the EPF amount can be withdrawn. The rest of the 25% can be moved to a new PF account after you regain employment. However, you need to declare your unemployment to withdraw the amount from your account.
• You do not have to wait for your company or employer to approve your EPF withdrawal anymore. You can withdraw it directly from the EPFO member portal if your UAN and Aadhaar card are linked.
PF withdrawal process
The PF withdrawal process can be carried out in the following ways:
Submitting a physical form for PF withdrawal
The following steps need to be taken:
• Visit the official website of EPFO and download the new composite claim with Aadhaar/composite claim form without Aadhaar.
• You can submit the composite claim form with Aadhaar without the attestation of your company or employer.
• The composite claim form without Aadhaar needs to be filled and submitted along with the attestation of your employer. You have to submit this to the corresponding EFPO office.
PF withdrawal process online
Of late, EPFO has introduced the facility to withdraw your EPF amount online. This is a much easier process and takes less time than the physical procedure.
There are certain prerequisites for withdrawing the PF amount online through the EPFO portal. And, they are:
• Your UAN must be active and the mobile number that was used for activating the UAN must be working properly.
• The UAN must be linked to your bank account details including your IFSC code, PAN card and Aadhaar card.
If you fulfil the conditions mentioned above, then you will not require the attestation of your previous employer for the withdrawal process.
The steps for PF withdrawal online are as follows:
• Visit the UAN member portal – https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/
• Sign in using your UAN and password.
• Enter the captcha.
• After that click on the Manage tab and click on KYC. Then check whether all your KYC details, such as PAN, Aadhaar and bank account details are properly filled and correct.
• After the verification of KYC details, hover over to the Online Services tab. Then from the dropdown menu that appears, click on the option Claim (Form-31, 19 & 10C).
• You will then be redirected to the claim screen where you will see your member, service and KYC details.
• In the space for entering Bank Account Number, enter the last 4 digits of your bank account. Click on verify.
• A certificate of Undertaking will appear on the screen. Click on Yes to confirm that the bank account details are verified by you and the EPF amount will be credited to this account.
• Then click on the Proceed for Online Claim option.
• In the claim form that appears, go to the tab I Want to Apply For. Then choose the claim you want, such as EPF Part withdrawal, pension withdrawal or EPF Full Settlement.
• After that, select the PF Advance Form 31 for withdrawing funds.
• Another section of the form will be opened. Here you are required to provide the purpose for the advance, your address and the amount you need.
• Submit the application by checking the certification.
• Based on the purpose of filling the form, you may have to submit relevant scanned documents.
• After your employer has approved the request for withdrawal, the money from the EPF account will be transferred to your bank account.
After the completion of the process, an SMS will be sent to your mobile number that is registered with EPFO. You will get the money after the claim is processed. It might take 15 to 20 days to receive the PF amount.
Your PF amount can be very useful when meeting the day-to-day expenses after retirement. It is also beneficial for covering expenses, such as marriage, education, pregnancy or medical emergency. As mentioned earlier, both the physical and PF withdrawal online procedures are fairly simple. Make sure all your details are properly submitted during the process. In case you face any problem while withdrawing your PF account money, you can contact your registered EPFO office or look online for solutions.