The employees’ provident fund organisation (EPFO) has issued a recent circular instructing field officers to expedite the review and verification of joint applications submitted by employees and employers seeking a higher pension based on their actual salary. The EPFO aims to streamline the process and address any errors or mistakes made by employers or pensioners promptly.
According to the circular, the scrutiny process must be completed in not more than 20 days. During this time, field officers will carefully examine the submitted data and documents and communicate with employers or pensioners if any additional proof or correction is needed. The EPFO is dedicated to ensuring a smooth validation of joint options and facilitating efficient processing of applications.
Employees who wish to opt for the higher pension option under the employees’ pension scheme (EPS) 1995 must make their selection by the 26 June deadline. Once employees have made their choice, their employers will validate it, and the EPFO’s field officers will begin the assessment process. As per the recent circular, the assessment of each application should be completed within 20 days from the date of receipt.
This development presents an opportunity for employees who were part of EPFO and EPS before 1 September, 2014, and are currently employed. They can now apply for a higher pension in accordance with the Supreme Court’s November 2022 order.
It is crucial for eligible employees to act within the given timeframe and submit their joint applications through the EPFO’s member portal’s online facility. By choosing the higher pension option, employees can increase their post-retirement pension amount.
However, it’s important to note that there are still uncertainties surrounding the pension calculation formula and potential revisions by the EPFO. The current formula considers the average of the last 60 months’ salary (pensionable salary) multiplied by the number of years of contribution, divided by 70. Any modifications to this formula is likely to impact the final pension amount, which raises concerns for employees and pensioners.
If any errors are identified in the application after submission, employees have the option to delete and resubmit. However, once the employer has already validated the application, this option may not be available.
While clarity and transparency is being sought from the EPFO, especially regarding the potential impact on the pension calculation formula, the EPFO is committed to conducting a fair and efficient assessment of joint applications, empowering employees to exercise their choice for a higher pension.