Amid the second wave of Covid-19 in the country and the emergence of ‘mucormycosis’ or black fungus cases across states, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has now allowed its members to avail second non-refundable COVID-19 advance.
Members who have already availed the first COVID-19 advance can now opt for a second advance also. The provision and process for withdrawal of second COVID-19 advance is same as in the case of first advance, the Labour Ministry said in a statement.
“Considering urgent need of members for financial support in these trying times, it has been decided to accord top priority to COVID-19 claims,” the ministry added.
The provision for special withdrawal to meet the financial need of members during pandemic was introduced in March 2020, under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
Under this provision, non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75% of the amount standing to member’s credit in the EPF account, whichever is less, is provided. Members can apply for lesser amount also.
“The COVID-19 advance has been a great help to the EPF members during the pandemic, especially for those having monthly wages of less than Rs. 15,000,” the ministry added. As on date, EPFO has settled more than 76.31 lakh COVID-19 advance claims thereby disbursing a total of Rs. 18,698.15 crore.
“During the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, ‘mucormycosis’ or black fungus has been declared an epidemic recently. In such trying times, EPFO endeavours to lend a helping hand to its members by meeting their financial needs,” it stated.
The organisation also said that it will settle these claims within three days of their receipt. For this, EPFO has deployed a system driven auto-claim settlement process in respect of all such members whose KYC requirements is complete in all respects. Auto-mode of settlement enables EPFO to reduce the claim settlement cycle to just 3 days as against the statutory requirement to settle the claims within 20 days, it added.
Considering the wrath of the second ovid wave in India, the Labour Ministry had recently announced a slew of additional benefits for members of the bereaved families under EPFO and ESIC schemes.
These benefits include pension for dependents of insured persons with Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) who died due to COVID-19 and hike in maximum sum assured under the group insurance scheme Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI), run by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), to ₹7 lakh from ₹6 lakh.
These welfare measures will provide the much-needed support to the families of workers who have died due to the COVID-19 disease and will protect them from financial hardships in these challenging times of pandemic, it had said.
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