Provident Fund has been long considered as a long term savings option for good rate of return ( 2016-17 rate of 8.65%)and tax exempt nature. The drawback was red tape in case of withdrawals, transfers, settlement on retirement etc. It is a cumbersome exercise of authentication, certification , attestation of documents for claiming employee’s money back from PF. The Dept is now actively working on removing the bottlenecks and bureaucracy on withdrawal, transfer, settlement etc. to make PF a more attractive option for saving. This is evident from the recent amendments and introduction of digital forms without employer attestation and relying increasingly on employee honor and trust.
In this direction on 25th April 2017, Ministry for Labour and Employment has amended the Employee Provident Fund Act 1952 under the clause 68-J & 68-N to do away with the requirement of submission of Doctor’s certificate for treatment of illness and purchasing of medical equipment in case of physical disabilities.
Now the employees can withdraw PF Amount for Medical treatment and purchase of medical equipment by using composite form along with self-declaration subject to member's basic wages and dearness allowance for six months or his own share of contributions with interest thereon or the cost of the equipment, whichever is lower. In other words, @ 12% rate of contribution from employee, it is approximately 4 years contribution that is allowed to be withdrawn. However, this facility can be obtained only after 5 years of continuous service.
Earlier if an employee needed to withdraw PF amount for any medical treatment including hospitalization lasting for one month or more or major surgical operation in hospital or in case they are suffering from TB, Leprosy, Paralysis, Cancer, mental derangement or heart ailment he need to submit the doctor certificate stating that member or his dependent has been hospitalized for one month or more or that major surgical operation has become necessary and also advance was granted only after submission of certificate from the employer that the member or his dependent is not covered under the ESIC scheme facility and benefits.
To purchase of equipment for handicap in case of disabilities the advance amount withdrawal was allowed only after submission of medical certificate from a competent medical practitioner or an officer authorized by the EPFO.
Now after the amendment, a member would no longer be required to submit any medical certificate or any other certificate or document or any pro forma whatsoever to avail advance under paragraph 68-J & 68-N.
Click here to view the notification and format of self-declaration letter (Composite form)
This article is published for educational purposes only.