As the deadline set by the Supreme Court for submitting joint options of employees and employers to claim higher Provident Fund pension is ending on March 4, the Union Labour Ministry has sent a letter to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) asking it to expedite the process so that those who want to claim higher pension based on higher salary can avail the option. The Ministry has asked the EPFO to spell out the procedures for submitting joint options for those who retired after September 1, 2014 and subscribers of the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) who are currently working.
A senior official of the Labour Ministry told The Hindu that the letter was sent last week. “We expect that the EPFO will release a circular with the procedures in this week,” the officer added. The Ministry has also asked the EPFO to be specific about the processes for those who retired before and after September 1, 2014 and currently working EPS subscribers.
The delay in issuing the circular was taken up in both the Houses during the Budget Session of Parliament too. CPI(M) MP John Brittas had written to Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav recently urging his intervention to expedite the process. The Opposition MPs had questioned the EPFO’s notices to several pensioners who retired before September 1, 2014 that their pension would be stopped if they do not present the details of their joint options submitted to the EPFO for availing higher pension based on salary higher than the ceiling of ₹5,000 and ₹6,500.
A recent circular of the EPFO had asked its regional offices to revise pension entitlements and recover the amount if anyone has received the pension without exercising any option under paragraph 11(3) of the EPS. “The new circular will address all issues concerning the Supreme Court order,” the official added.
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