The Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the deadline till July 11, 2023, for applications regarding pension on higher wages. The Ministry of Labour & Employment on Tuesday said the last opportunity of 15 days is being given to removing any difficulty faced by the eligible pensioners/members. The government had earlier set the deadline as June 26 and May 3, 2023.

"Online facility has been made available by EPFO for submitting applications for validation of option /joint options for pension on higher wages. The facility is for eligible pensioners/members in compliance with the Hon’ble Supreme Court order dated 04.11.2022. The facility was launched on 26.02.2023 and was to remain available only till 03.05.2023. However, considering the representations of the employees, the time limit was extended to 26.06.2023 in order to provide complete four months time to eligible pensioners/members for filing applications," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, EPFO has received over16 lakh applications for validation of option or joint options till June 26, 2023.

In November last year, the Supreme Court upheld the Employees Pension (Amendment) Scheme, 2014, which raised the pensionable salary cap to ₹15,000 a month from ₹6,500 per month and allowed members, along with their employers to contribute 8.33% of their actual basic salaries (if it exceeded the cap) towards the Employee Pension Scheme (EPS).

According to EPFO, employees and employers who contributed on salary exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of ₹5,000 or ₹6,500 per month, and did not exercise the joint option and were members before September 1, 2014, and continued to be members would be able to use the joint option for higher pension.

Meanwhile, the government has extended the deadline for uploading wage details of applicant pensioners/members by another three months till September 30, 2023, after receiving applications from Employers & Employers' Associations regarding this.

How to apply

In order to avail the scheme, any eligible pensioner/member who on account of any issue in the updation of  KYC (know-your-customer), faces difficulty in submitting an online application for validation of option / joint option, may lodge grievances on EPFiGMS for resolution. EPFiGMS is a customised portal of EPFO with an aim to redress grievances for the services provided by EPFO.  According to the government, grievances can be lodged at any place and will land in the concerned office to which the grievances pertain. The grievance can be submitted by selecting the grievance category of 'higher pensionary benefits on higher wages.'

The Employee's Pension Scheme (EPS) was introduced in the year 1995. The scheme, which is administered by the EPFO, provides employees with a pension after they reach the age of 58. Both the employee and the employer contribute 12% of the employee's basic salary and Dearness Allowance (DA) to the EPF. While the employee's entire part goes to EPF, the employer's contribution goes to EPS at a rate of 8.33%.

In April, EPFO added 17.88 lakh members, the highest in four months of 2023. Out of 17.88 lakh members added during the month, 8.37 lakh employees registered in the age group 18-25 years constitute the bulk of new registrations, which is 47% of the total employees. In March, this age group constituted 56.6% of the total new members. This is crucial as most of the first-time employees are aged between 18-25 years.

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