If you have visited your local post office, chances are you must have seen the plight of many senior citizens standing in queue for their turn to withdraw money from savings schemes such as senior citizens savings scheme (SCSS), time deposits, monthly income scheme (MIS), savings account or for account closure. During the COVID-19 induced lock-downs, many families suffered because it was not possible for senior citizens (who were more vulnerable) to step out and visit the post office to withdraw money or close the account.
In a welcome relief for senior citizens and differently-abled people, they will now be able to send an 'authorised person' on their behalf to carry out such transactions. The authorised person can make withdrawals or close or make premature withdrawals from the post office schemes on behalf of senior citizens.
In a circular on 4 August 2021, the Department of Posts (DoP) says, "…keeping the provisions in Rule 11 of 'Government Savings Promotion General Rules-2018' in mind, competent authority has decided that in case of extreme exigencies (i.e., senior citizens or illness of account holder or suffering from physical infirmity or is with differently-abled conditions) the withdrawal or loan or account closure or premature closure may be allowed through authorised person”.
This was not allowed until now and the senior citizens would be forced to visit the post office to make withdrawals or close accounts, make premature withdrawals from post office schemes.
The authorised person will be allowed the operation of the post office scheme accounts which includes withdrawals, loan, closure and premature closure of accounts.
Most importantly the authorised person cannot be an agent or an employee working in a post office branch.
However, the government has laid down certain procedures to be followed by the senior citizen to authorise the person who can make the withdrawals. As per the DoP circular, given below is the step-wise procedure required to be followed by the senior citizen to nominate an authorised person on their behalf.
The account holder will submit a duly filled application using form SB-12 to the post office branch for operation of account i.e., withdrawal, loan, closure or premature closure of account. The Form 12
allows the account holder to authorise the person for operation of his/her account without the physical presence. According to the circular, the authorised person should be literate.
In case of jointly operated account, all the account holder(s) will be required to attest the signature of the authorised person. However, if the account is operated on the basis of the either or survivor account, then any account holder can attest the signature of authorised person.
Step 2: The account holder will fill and sign the form as required. In case of withdrawal, form SB-7 will be required, while for closure of account, form SB-7B will be used. Self-attested copy of ID and address proof of both the account holder and authorised person will be submitted along with the form. If there is more than one transaction, then only one set of know your customer (KYC) documents along with photo can be obtained, however, there must be separate SB-12 form for every transaction.
Step 3: The authorised person shall submit passbook, authority letter, SB-12 form, requisite transaction form (SB-7 or SB-7B), and the KYC documents of account holder and authorised person.
Step 4: The post office branch officials will then match and verify the signature of the account holder from the form with the one available in their system. This needs to be further approved by the supervisor. Only after the supervisor is satisfied with the signature and documents of the account holder, the payment will be released. In case the supervisor is not satisfied with the legitimacy of the request, then physical verification of the request may be required for withdrawal from the account before effecting the payment.
However, the payment will be made either through a cheque or credit into post office savings account or bank account. Cash payments will be allowed only in case of withdrawal from savings account.
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