Further, it has received 91,258 online applications from retired EPS members (prior to September 1, 2014 and whose options were not considered at that time) as on March 4. The EPFO, however, closed the option of online application for such retired EPS members on March 4, 2023.
EPFO’s statement comes after a section of trade unions had written to the central provident fund commissioner to look into the matter as certain necessary requirements on the portal, including a written approval for higher contribution, were making it difficult for the beneficiaries to apply for higher contribution.
According to EPFO’s statement, since the contributions of both the employee and employer on higher wages are involved, the EPF and EPS-95 schemes require the joint request when they contribute on higher salary.
“This is not a new requirement and predates the EPS-95 and the position has been affirmed by SC in the RC Gupta case stating that it is a necessary precursor for exercising joint option on higher salary under EPS,” it said.
EPFO claimed that the circular dated February 20, 2023 adheres to the provisions of the Scheme and complies with the Supreme Court orders.
“The correct assessment of contributions and their deposit and diversion to pension fund, the past services rendered and the remittances made are necessary for correct calculation of the benefits and valuation of the pension fund,” it said.EPFO, further, said that the online joint (employee and employer) option form with the necessary documents has been hosted by EPFO in the unified portal for contributing on higher salary to the EPS-95, paving the way for giving effect to the SC order dated 04.11.2022, while adhering to the basic scheme provisions.
“EPFO has been making all-out efforts to publicize the process of joint option which can be submitted online till May 03, 2023,” it added.