Do you have an inoperative or Dormant EPF account i.e no deposit has been made into the Employee Provident Fund account in last 3 year (36 months) which you are trying to withdraw or transfer? Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has introduced an online helpdesk to help members trace out their inoperative account. It will also assist the members in claiming the money lying in the accounts. This article explains how to track Inoperative EPF account using EPFO online helpdesk in detail with images .
What are inoperative EPF account?
Many employees don’t transfer their employee provident fund account when they shift jobs. It might be because it requires follow up with the existing employer or they feel the process is cumbersome. Since 1 April 2011, EPFO has stopped crediting interest to accounts that have not received contributions for 36 months continuously, classifying these inoperative. Around Rs 27,000 crore of provident fund money is lying with Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in inoperative accounts, as of March 2014.
It’s a small amount- let’s forget it?
Ten years ago, on a salary of, say, Rs. 20,000 per month, you would have contributed Rs. 2,400 and your employer would have contributed Rs. 1,859 per month in your EPF account. Of this, Rs.541 from the employer’s contribution would have gone towards Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS). Let’s say you contributed only for a year. This would mean a total contribution of Rs.51,108 from you and your employer. After that one year, you changed jobs and you did not withdraw. Assuming a fixed return rate of 8.5% (the current rate is 8.75%), your money would have been more than Rs. 1 lakh in 10 years, and that too tax-free. As EPFO decided to stop paying interest on inoperative accounts that were more than three years old, with effect from FY12 you cannot let the money sit in the account and earn interest.. Therefore, it’s in your interest to either withdraw your money if you are no longer a salaried person or unemployed, or get your account transferred to the new one unless ofcourse you want to forget.
So how I claim my inoperative EPF account?
If you know all the details of your older PF accounts and your employers, you could opt for withdrawal by filling up Form 19, or simply transfer the older account using the Online Transfer Claims Portal (OTCP). Read more about how to use OTCP in our article Transfer EPF account online : OTCP
EPFO Online Helpdesk for Inoperative EPF account
From January 2015, EPFO has launched a drive to help such account holders. EPFO has asked field offices to identify the beneficiaries of inoperative PF accounts and settle those by making payments or transferring money to their active accounts. To quicken the process, EPFO has launched an online helpdesk. Many subscribers don’t remember their provident fund details so this helpdesk is meant to trace them out. Subscribers are meant to fill in some details like company name, year of working etc so that the helpdesk can assist in finding other details . More the information, more accurate the information better it is.
To settle the your old EPF account you need to get your UAN or Universal account number activated. UAN is a 12-digit number allotted to each Employee Provident Fund member by the Employee Provident Fund Organization(EPFO) which gives him control of his EPF account and minimises the role of employer. Our article UAN or Universal Account Number and Registration of UAN explains it in detail. This online helpdesk can be accessed through EPFO’s website. After the members provide the details available with them about the inoperative accounts, a reference ID is created for future reference and tracking.
Steps for using EPFO Inoperative Account Help Desk
Go to epfindia.com and select Inoperative A/c Helpdesk or go directly to online inoperative PF account helpdesk at http://184.108.40.206/INOPHelpDesk/.When you go to epfindia.com on Skipping Introduction it shows the message about Inoperative helpdesk (shown in image below)
On Clicking Here in introduction message or going directly to helpdesk. You would see the introductory page , excerpt of which is shown below. To see the full image click on image or here
Click on the First Time User Click here to Proceed.
It asks for your Problem Details within 1000 words as shown in image below
On Clicking Next it takes to next page where it asks for information about your company, your personal information. Try to fill as many details as possible and to the extent possible
Information for tracking your employer and your Provident Fund number such as Employer Code, Your Provident Fund Number, Name and Address of your company , Your date of joining, leaving. EPFO has fed the system with all the establishment codes it has. You can use Search Establishment to help locate your old employer.
Personal Information such as Name, Mobile Number, Email Id, Name of Father or Husband,date of birth, language which suits you, Contact Address. Name and Mobile number are compulsory (marked by red star). Please do enter Date of Birth also for it would help you to get your reference number if you forget it.(explained later in article)
Know your customer(KYC) Information such as PAN or Permanent Account Number, Aadhar number, Bank Account Number, IFSC Code.
Once you have entered all Information click on Generate PIN. You will receive a PIN on your mobile number. On entering this PIN a reference number will be shown on screen. Please note down the reference number as you can use it later for checking status. It will not be emailed/SMSed to you.
What happens after submitting details ?
If you remember either the establishment code or your PF account number, your query will be directed to the field officer in the regional PF office, who will then assist you in locating your account. But if you don’t remember either Establishment code or your PF, the query will go to the centralized helpdesk, which will then call you to get further details before they pass the query on to the field officers.
How much time will EPFO take?
How much time the EPFO authorities will take to reply is not known yet. Response time would largely depend on the amount of information provided, and the workload, but the organization is hopeful of being able to respond within a day. (I submitted more than a week ago haven’t heard from them as yet)
How can I check status of my request?
Go to epfindia.com and select Inoperative A/c Helpdesk or go directly to online inoperative PF account helpdesk at http://220.127.116.11/INOPHelpDesk/.When you go to epfindia.com on Skipping Introduction it shows the message about Inoperative helpdesk. Select Existing User Click Here to view Status. It takes you to screen where you select Login (on upper right corner) as shown in image.
Fill in the Login Details. Login as Registered Member where you enter the Reference No. and Mobile No.
If you have forgotten reference number and you have filled in Date of Birth in Personal Details you can select Forgot Reference No in Login . You can then enter your Mobile number and Date of Birth(in DD-MM-YYYY format) to get the reference number.
You can also login with your reference number and chat with the centralized desk. Once the EPF account is located, the helpdesk with notify you.
What happens if EPF account is traced?
Once the account is traced, you need to withdraw the money, or transfer the account to your current one. If you are unemployed, you can withdraw the money using Form 19. Fill this form and submit it with the employer you held an account with. The employer will attest your credentials and forward the request to the regional PF office. From the time the EPF authorities receive the letter, it should not take more than a month to settle the account. But if you are employed and under the EPF ambit, then you will need to transfer the old PF account. To do this, you can make use of the OTCP.
For OTCP, too, your employer, previous or current, will need to attest your credentials. This is required because until the Unique Account Number was effected for all working individuals with EPF accounts, the EPFO could trace you only through your employer. So, to rule out any fraud, these processes still depend on verification from the employer. If the employer no longer exists, then attestation from notified authorities such as your bank or a gazetted officer will be needed.
If Track Inoperative EPF account does not work?
If you have all correct details and your previous employer exists then you can try transferring the account to your existing PF account. Else you can try filing RTI.
If one is unclear about what your EPF status is or if one’s EPF transfer work has even started? Why did one’s EPF money still not credited in bank account etc etc… You can ask all these questions and you should be getting the answers within 30 days. The three steps to file RTI are:
- Buying a Postal Order of Rs 10 from Post Office
- Drafting your RTI letter
- Sending the RTI letter by Registered Post or Speed Post
The article Jagoinvestor article on RTI for EPF Withdrawl and Transfer issue has details on each of the step, with sample letter ,filing RTI online, filing two RTI applications for Transfer of EPF. Note Before filing the RTI , a good idea would be to file a EPF grievance redressal form online
Related Articles :
- Basics of Employee Provident Fund: EPF, EPS, EDLISUnderstanding Employee Pension Scheme or EPS
- Voluntary Provident Fund, Difference between EPF and PPF, EPF Calculator-Method I:3.67%
- Withdrawal or Transfer of Employee Provident Fund Problems, Tax on EPF withdrawal, Transfer EPF account online : OTCP
- UAN or Universal Account Number and Registration of UAN
- Articles related to Salaried on EPF, Variable Pay, ESOP,NPS, Income Tax, MBA, Changing jobs
The online helpdesk portal from EPFO is indeed a step forward. Do make use of this facility to dig out all your previous accounts. As the facility is new, the time needed to look for old accounts is not known yet. As more people use it, the efficiency may improve. If you have made use of this facility, do share your experience with us.