The Employees Provident Fund, or more commonly known as the Provident Fund (PF), is a long-term investment vehicle established by contributions from employees, employers and, in some cases, the government. In simple terms, PF is a social security scheme run by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Employees use this as a means to provide them with a financial safety net in retirement. The amount deposited into the PF account over the years along with the specified interest will be paid to the employee when he/she retires.
When can I withdraw cash?
Employees can withdraw CPF if:
— Upon retirement (age 58 or later).
– If unemployed for two months.
— Provided by designee if employee dies before retirement age.
However, the EPF last year revised several withdrawal rules to facilitate those facing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic. The new rules allow PF account holders to withdraw funds equal to 75% of their three-month base salary plus dearness allowance or PF account net balance, whichever is lower. A key change was made to allow a person to withdraw the PF corpus when facing unemployment due to lockdown or layoffs before retirement.
How to do it?
Claims for withdrawals from PF accounts can be made online. These claims should be resolved within three business days, while offline claims may take up to 20 days. Follow the steps below to withdraw PF funds online:
Step 1: Open the EPFO Member Portal.
Step 2: Under the Services tab, select the Employee option.
Step 3: On the new webpage, click on the “Member UAN/Online Services (OCS/OTCP)” option.
A new window will open.
Step 4: Login to the portal using UAN, password and verification code.
Step 5: Select the “KYC” option under the “Administration” tab.
Step 6: You will be sent to a new web page. At the bottom of the page, find the “Digitally Approved KYC” section and check your KYC details. Make sure the details are correct.
Step 7: To complete the withdrawal, go to the top menu and select “Online Services”.
Step 8: Click on the “Claims (FORM-31, 19 and 10C)” option in the drop down menu.
Withdrawals have different additional conditions and restrictions for various reasons.
You can withdraw PF funds by citing the following reasons:
— Housing loans for the construction or purchase of a dwelling. To do this, you must serve at least 60 months.
— I, children, siblings get married or educate their children after school. A minimum of 84 months of service is required to accept this claim.
— You can withdraw up to 90% of your PF funds in the year before retirement. But you must be at least 54 years old.
— You can use some of your PF money for medical bills, natural disasters, equipment purchases for people with physical disabilities, factory closures, power outages.