The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the deadline for filing applications to opt for a higher pension to create a broader window of opportunity and to allow all eligible persons to register their applications.
Why was the deadline extended?
The schedule is being extended to enable and provide good chances for the pensioners/members to alleviate any difficulties they may be experiencing. The labour ministry stated that this decision was made after sympathetically examining the many demands from employees, employers, and their associations.
According to Vaibhav Bhardwaj, Partner at IndusLaw, an extension was critical in the current situation because claimants not only had difficulty accessing the online filing option due to technical difficulties but there was also a lack of clarity regarding the process to be followed and information to be submitted for claiming the higher pension amount.
He went on to say that the ambiguity is especially clear in light of the recent Kerala High Court decision in April 2023, which directed the EPFO to waive the requirement to produce copies of permission/prior consent or details thereof under paragraph 26(6) of the EPF Scheme for the time being.
“There is also no clarity regarding the mechanism and calculations that will be used to reallocate funds from the provident fund to the pension fund if the higher pension is chosen.” Furthermore, employers require practical guidance on what to do if they do not have adequate records of old wages,” said Vaibhav Bhardwaj.
According to the ministry, an online facility has been made accessible to help in this process. To date, over 12 lakh applications have been received.
How to apply?
All qualified employees must submit an application via the EPFO portal and all required paperwork.
The URL is https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/.
The employer will validate the application after the EPFO officer has submitted it.