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Thursday, June 20, 2013

EPFO plans to settle your PF claims in three days

NEW DELHI: The provident fund department has set an ambitious internal target to settle most claims in less than three days instead of the 30-day deadline set under its citizen charter, promising a huge relief to employees who are often forced to wait for months on end. 

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which manages over eight crore accounts with more than Rs 5 lakh crore of retirement savings, has been struggling to cope with the increasing workload of account transfers and withdrawals arising out of greater mobility in the labour market in recent years. 

Provident fund officers have traditionally required 47 separate approvals for processing requests, making the three-day deadline appear overly ambitious, but the EPFO's chief accounts officer and financial advisor Sanjay Kumar has pointed out that this is doable. 

Kumar has summoned all regional PF bosses to Delhi in early July to finalise an action plan for clearing claims expeditiously. The department wants 70-80% of the 1.2 crore claims expected in 2013-14 to be paid out within three days. 
"(The delay in processing claims) has brought down the image of Employees' Provident Fund Organisation among our members. Genuinely, customers expect a change in the mindset from 30 days to at least three days in computerised era for withdrawing their own money," said Kumar's missive to the regional heads. 

In 2012-13, the EPFO settled 1.08 crore claims from its members, but could not settle 12.6 lakh requests within the 30-day deadline. Of these, 1.41 lakh claims were not settled even 90 days after submission. Just over 10% of all claims were settled within three days during the fiscal. 

From April 1 to June 11, 2013, the number of claims settled within this deadline was better, at 15.66%. 

During this period, 19 regional PF offices managed to settle over 61% of claims in just three days - with 10 of them managing to clear over 90% of claims in three days. 

"Average claim settlement in these star offices was 83.16% as on June 11, 2013. Out of the likely receipts of 1.20 crore (claims), even if lesser target of 70% claim settlement within three days is considered at national level, it will benefit 84 lakh claimants," Kumar has stressed.

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