Over four crore members of the retirement fund body EPFO can now withdraw funds from their EPF account for treatment of illness and purchasing equipment to deal with handicap without medical certificates.
The Employees' Provident Fund Scheme 1952 is amended to do away with the requirement of submission of various certificates and proformas for seeking advance for treatment of illness and purchasing equipment required in case of physical disabilities. Now, the subscribers can seek fund withdrawal from their EPF account on various grounds by using a composite form along with a self-declaration.
"The Labour Ministry has amended the clause 68-J and 68-N of the Employees Provident Fund Scheme 1952 for enabling members to take non-refundable advances from their account for treatment of illness and buying equipment to minimise the hardship on account of handicap," a senior official said on Thursday.
At present, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) subscribers can seek advance under Para 68-J of the EPF Scheme for their and their dependents' treatment for illness. Besides, the physically challenged member can seek advance for purchasing equipment to deal with handicap under Para 68-N. The official further said the Labour Ministry issued a notification with regard to the amendment on April 25, 2017.
Under the Paragraph 68-J, the members can seek advance from the fund for treatment of illness in certain cases including hospitalisation lasting for one month or more, or major surgical operation in a hospital, or in case they are suffering from TB, leprosy, paralysis, cancer, mental derangement or heart ailment. The advance under this Para 68-J was granted on only after receipt of certificate from employers or employees that the member or his dependent is not covered under the Employees' State Insurance Scheme facility and benefits.
Besides, the members were required to submit a certificate from a doctor of the hospital that the member or his dependent has been hospitalised or requires hospitalisation for one month or more, or that a major surgical operation had or has become necessary. Now after the amendment, a member would no longer be required to submit any medical certificate or any other certificate or document or any proforma whatsoever to avail advance under paragraph 68-J. Under Paragraph 68-N, the physically handicapped member can seek advance to purchase equipment to minimise hardship on account of handicap.
The withdrawal under this clause was allowed only after submission of medical certificate from a competent medical practitioner or an officer authorised by the EPFO. Under Para 68-J and 68-N, the amount advanced shall not exceed the 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.
(Feature image source: Reuters)