On Monday, 15 June 2020, Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched a multi-location claim settlement facility by allowing EPFO offices to settle online claims from any of its regional offices, across the country.
All types of online claims –provident fund, pension, partial withdrawal, and claims and transfer claims can be processed under this initiative.
“This facility will bring a paradigm shift by allowing EPFO offices to settle online claims from any of its regional offices, across the country,” the Ministry of Labour & Employment under which the EPFO comes, said.
This is a big leap towards ensuring uniform standards of service delivery across the country, the ministry added.
COVID-19 crisis has affected 135 regional offices of EPFO with different levels of severity depending on their location. It was observed that though many offices in Mumbai, Thane, Haryana and Chennai zones operate with even less than skeletal staff on account of COVID-19 pandemic, but there has been a disproportionate increase in claim receipt due to recently introduced COVID-19 advance, the ministry said.
Consequently, claim pendency in these offices rose to higher levels leading to delay in claim settlement cycle while other offices, working with 50% workforce and with the help of recently introduced auto settlement mode could bring the claim settlement period down to 3 days for COVID-19 advances, it added.
The initiative aimed at enhancing the ease of living experience for its members has been achieved in record time. The first batch of multi-location claims under this path-breaking project was settled for the Gurugram region on June 10, 2020. The claims of employees pertaining to the regional office of Gurugram Region were settled by EPFO staff deployed in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar offices.
After settlement, the payment was made from the Gurugram office to the bank account of the individual member.
To reduce the delays by uniformly distributing the claim settlement related workload nationwide, EPFO has moved away from the existing system of geographical jurisdiction for claim processing by rolling out a multi-location claim settlement facility.
This will allow offices with the lesser workload to share the burden of offices that have accumulated a higher level of pendency, due to COVID-19 restrictions. It enables fast-tracking of the settlement process through the most appropriate engagement of EPFO’s workforce in all its regional offices across the country.
Since its launch, claims pertaining to offices that fall in containment zones are being distributed to offices in other locations for expeditious processing.- PTI