Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) general secretary Tapan Sen has written a letter to Central Provident Fund Commissioner Neelam Shami Rao demanding her immediate intervention to resolve the problems in uploading the higher pension option application on the EPFO website. Mr. Sen also demanded a comprehensive statement from the EPFO with a holistic approach to implement the Supreme Court judgment on the Employees’ Pension Scheme of 1995.
Mr. Sen said issuing three circulars on the issue was a piece-meal dealing and it led to lot of confusion among pensioners. “There must be a cohesive instruction from the EPFO and more pensioners/employee-friendly hassle-free mechanism to avail the benefits. Thus, the EPFO should come out with detailed statements on what are the arrangements made to ensure that all those who are eligible according to the Supreme Court judgment would be able to submit applications,” he demanded.
Higher pension | Eligible EPFO members can apply till May 3
The former Rajya Sabha member said pensioners were facing practical problems while opting for higher pension. “The link that was provided by the EPFO to exercise the option online for higher pension benefits was asking whether you had already opted for higher pension benefits while joining in the EPS-95 scheme. When the EPS-95 was started, obviously, no one had opted for higher pension benefits while joining the scheme, since there was no such amenable provision for the employees to independently opt for higher pension, without concurrence of the employers and the employers were not generally concurring owing to higher payment obligation,” Mr. Sen said in the letter. He said all employees have to say ‘no’ as they never had been given an opportunity to record their option for higher pension benefits earlier. “Again, the link is asking to upload the PDF format of the document which was supposed to be submitted for recording the option. Obviously the employees and ex-employees do not have such document because they never had an opportunity to record their option for higher pension when they joined the scheme,” he said.
He also flagged that when a worker responds “no” to the first query in the link that whether the pensioner had opted for higher pension during the initial launch of EPS-95, and/or fails to submit that document of option for higher pension while first joining EPS-95, then she/he will not get any further response from EPFO link. “In such a way, it is programmed eventually to deny the benefits of the Supreme Court judgment to the eligible pensioners. So the link and the related programme should be positively oriented for implementation of the judgment on higher pension and it should be made hassle-free for all the eligible pensioners,” he added.