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EPFO discontinues COVID-19 advacnes; Focus shifts to enhanced member services

Effective immediately, the organisation has halted the provision of advances that were introduced during the pandemic's peak to aid EPF members facing financial challenges.

EPFO discontinues COVID-19 advacnes; Focus shifts to enhanced member services
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The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has recently announced the cessation of COVID-19 advances for its members, marking a transition as the pandemic's status changes.

Effective immediately, the organisation has halted the provision of advances that were introduced during the pandemic's peak to aid EPF members facing financial challenges.

Initially rolled out in 2020 and expanded during the second wave in 2021, the COVID-19 advances allowed members to withdraw up to three months of their basic wages or 75% of their provident fund balance, whichever was lower.

This initiative provided crucial support to members, particularly those earning below Rs 15,000 per month.

"With COVID-19 no longer classified as a pandemic, we have decided to discontinue this special advance," stated EPFO in a notification dated June 12. This decision applies to all members, including those covered under exempted trusts, and has been communicated to respective jurisdictions.

Despite the cessation of COVID-19 advances, EPFO remains committed to enhancing member services.

Plans are underway to implement a UAN-based single accounting system, streamline applications for faster claims settlement, and expand automatic settlement features for advances related to medical needs, education, marriage, and housing.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has lauded EPFO's efforts in modernising operations, citing significant advancements in claim settlement speed.

Around 2.5 million advance claims have been settled using automated processes, significantly reducing processing times to as little as three days for many claims.

These developments underscore EPFO's ongoing commitment to supporting its members through innovative solutions and streamlined services, ensuring efficient management of provident fund accounts and timely financial assistance.

Divya Shivaji
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