Opting for Higher Pension? – Understand the Practical Difficulties
Abhay Datar 25 March 2023
The great news for employees provident fund organisation (EPFO) contributors and pensioners is the changes made in the EPFO as directed by the Supreme Court for higher pensions.
 
Though most of them might have gone through the new provisions, we would like to highlight important points for our readers.
 
The following employees will, with their employers, submit joint options under para 11(3) and 11(4) to their respective regional offices –
 
1. The employees and employers who had contributed under paragraph 26(6) of EPF scheme on salary exceeding the prevalent wage ceiling of Rs5,000 or Rs6,500; and
 
2. Did not exercise joint option under the proviso to para 11(3) of the pre-amended scheme while being members of EPS 95 and;
 
3. Were members prior to 1 September 2014 and continued to be members on or after this date.
 
(As per the relevant circulars available under frequently asked questions (FAQ) download on the EPFO website, para 11(3) specifies the maximum pensionable salary limited to Rs15,000 per month; para 11(4), inter alia, states that existing members as on 1 September 2014 who, with his employer had been contributing on a salary of Rs6,500 per month (pm) may jointly exercise fresh option with the employer to contribute on a salary exceeding Rs15,000 pm. Paragraph 26(6) provides for a joint request by the employee and employer to allow the employee to contribute more than Rs15,000 pm if certain conditions are satisfied. There is one more option, viz., EPFO Schemes on the right-hand side of the EPFO website and these two circulars can be downloaded in pdf from there.)
 
How to apply to the concerned regional office -
 
1. The request will be made in such form or manner as may be specified by the commissioner.
 
2. The joint option will contain a disclaimer and declaration.
 
3. In case of share requiring adjustment from the provident to the pension fund and if any re-deposit to the fund, explicit consent of the employee will be given in the joint option form.
 
4. In case of transfer of funds from exempted provident fund trust to the pension fund of EPFO, an undertaking from the trustee shall be submitted. Due contributions, along with interest up to the date of payment, will be deposited within the specified period.
 
5. In case of unexempted establishments refund of requisite employer’s share of contribution, the same shall be deposited with interest at the rate declared under para 60 of EPF Scheme 1952, till the date of actual refund.
 
6. The method of deposit and computation of pension will follow through another circular.
 
7. The joint option must contain proof of remittance of the employer’s share in the provident fund on higher wages exceeding the ceiling of Rs5,000/ Rs6,500 and proof of joint option under para 26(6) of EPF scheme duly verified by the employer.
 
When, initially, I tried to obtain confirmation of the above-mentioned changes from the official website of EPFO, i.e., https://www.epfindia.gov.in, I was stunned to notice that these important changes were not highlighted predominantly anywhere on this website as on 17 March 2023!  
 
I saw a scroller ‘What’s New’ on the left-hand side of the portal and eagerly surfed through in an attempt to find out something about this issue but in vain. While trying to find out more about it, I came across a press report, that EPFO had issued a circular on 20 February.2023 with relevant instructions about the new amendments.  
 
So, I checked the ‘EPFO Press Release’ option and then selected the month of February which again disappointed me with this information - EPFO_CIRCULAR. In another attempt, I simply clicked to open the press report and got the circular on this link - SC_JUDGEMENT
 
Well, so far so good. Next, one was to understand how to register this joint option. Yes, there is an option to submit it physically with the designated regional office of the EPFO for those who are not computer savvy.
 
But how others will do it online? Again, I got stuck up with the EPFO portal and then read in a newspaper item that this should be done through e-sewa portal with this url – https://unifiedportal-mem.epfindia.gov.in/memberinterface/. It opens the following screen giving two links under the ‘Important Links’ option on the right-hand side; one for registering the joint option and another for validating the same.
 
 
The first one opens a screen as shown below to get the authorisation PIN, validation of the user, submission of application and generation of acknowledgement number after filling up the required information. This link shows that the last date of submission is extended up to 3 May 2023.
 
 
The second link opens almost a similar screen, but for validation of the joint option. Earlier, there were reports that the site had stopped functioning, but now it seems that the initial glitches are set right, albeit the slow functioning of the site.
 
The key question is whether one should opt for this or not. Many fear loss of their own contribution to some extent for getting a higher pension. I also came to know about some practical issues. One user informed that the company he was working with has closed down, so how to exercise the joint option?  
 
A friend who was working with a small cooperative bank, which was taken over by another cooperative bank and that also collapsed, was worried whether he would get the pension at all. Another one wanted to know arrangements made for handicapped retired employees. My efforts of collecting information ended with links related to newspaper articles and the EPFO or e-sewa portal hardly gave any authentic information about the advantages and disadvantages of exercising the joint option.   
 
The EPFO website itself does not seem to provide a link to the e-sewa portal. Generally, in such cases, certain examples are given to explain the working. I did not find any after several searches on both of these websites. With advanced technology, both sites could have provided a calculator to have a better idea. Such types of calculators are available on the websites of insurance companies for premium, banks for EMI (equated monthly instalments) and even electric supply companies to work out consumable units after we provide a list of the apparatus, electric gadgets, etc., we use at home. Though the EPFO circular says “Method of deposit and computation of pension will follow through another circular,” it does not seem to be available.
 
It was extremely difficult for me to find out something authenticated on these portals and almost every search led me to various links related to some newspapers but not to EPFO or e-sewa. I shall be glad to have readers’ feedback if they find something worthy.
 
(Retired banker Abhay Datar is a consumer activist and an expert counsellor at Moneylife Foundation. He was a member of the Managing Committee of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) and also the treasurer at MGP for over two and a half years. After working at Bank of Baroda for 29 years, he retired as IT Manager. Mr Datar has resolved many cases related to banking and has also handled cases related to insurance and mediclaim.)
Comments
bhatnagar.y
9 months ago
My submission (Step 3) is showing complete, but I have neither received any acknowledgment nor the completed copy of the application. I have made several attempts, each time only the disclaimer part of the application gets loaded but not the full application or the acknowledgment number. Who can help in this matter.
santanu_rnc
1 year ago
Dear Mr. P.R.Krishnan, Thanks for sharing such elaborated explanation.
I am continuing service since March 2005 and have deposited my PF contribution on ACTUAL salary till September 2021. The pension was deducted on capped salary i.e. on 6500/- and from Sept 14 onward on 15000/- till date. My retirement is due on 2031.
Am I eligible to get Higher Pension. Kindly inform. If yes what documents I have to upload.

Thanks & Regards
Santanu Bhattacharya
prkrishnan57
Replied to santanu_rnc comment 1 year ago
Answer is Yes. There is a separate article on this, please connect there with your further queries. Link is https://moneylife.in/article/how-to-get-a-higher-pension-from-epfo/70372.html
santanu_rnc
Replied to prkrishnan57 comment 1 year ago
Sir, I am not getting the Joint Declaration Form. Can you please let me know from where to get it. Thanks
santanu_rnc
Replied to prkrishnan57 comment 1 year ago
Thank you very much for your reply Sir. One small thing to know; The format of Passbook. If you kindly share then I can bring the details from my Co.
ashraf111
1 year ago
Is uploading Joint Declaration/Permission under Para 26(6) on today's date is acceptable while filing Online Higher Pension Option? (I've got Para 26(6) on March 5, 2023)
prkrishnan57
Replied to ashraf111 comment 1 year ago
Yes, you can. For your further queries connect to Link is https://moneylife.in/article/how-to-get-a-higher-pension-from-epfo/70372.html
santanu_rnc
1 year ago
Regarding 50% pension it was meant for the survivor. I feel the rule should be amended with 100% pension to be given to the survivor.
Thanks
santanu_rnc
1 year ago
Dear Mr. P.R.Krishnan, Thanks for sharing such elaborated explanation. I have joined a Co in 1998 and left on 2005 and then joined another Co. Incidentally I have submitted 10C for my first Co and have withdrawn the money.
In current Co. I am continuing since March 2005 and have deposited my PF contribution on ACTUAL salary till September 2021. The pension was deducted on capped salary i.e. on 6500/- and from Sept 14 onward on 15000/- till date. My retirement is due on 2031.
Am I eligible to get Higher Pension. Kindly inform. If yes what documents I have to upload.
Secondly, Is it right to take only 50% pension in case of demise of the pensioner?
Is there any provision in EPF to return the invested amount (ROI)
Please inform.
Thanks & Regards
Santanu Bhattacharya
prkrishnan57
Replied to santanu_rnc comment 1 year ago
Sorry for the delay in replying. Seems to have missed out. With 10C you have withdrawn your pension. So that chapter is closed. Yes you are eligible for higher pension. Nowhere it states that once you have withdrawn you are not eligible. I have another article - Please connect there for further queries There is a separate article on this, please connect there with your further queries. Link is https://moneylife.in/article/how-to-get-a-higher-pension-from-epfo/70372.html
selvamganapathy1962
1 year ago
Dear Mr.P.R.Krishnan, Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation. I have also done a massive research on this higher pension issue and worked out the figures on my own. I was really happy and surprised to see your sharings which is almost in line with my workings. Only one part I am not very clear sir. As you rightly said that almost no one (employee/employer) given any joint declaration as per para 26(6) and no approval was taken from the EPFO for higher contribution in EPF account; but the PF contribution was made for the full salary in which 8.33% on the cieling limit was deposited in EPS account. EPFO also has accepted this higher contribution without any approval from EPFO vide 26(6) para. Now how can we upload the joint declaration as per para 26(6) for the salary above 5000 and 6500. Can you kindly guide me in this regard. I was a retired employee of an organisation which comes under PF Trust. With Thanks & Regards, G. Selvam
prkrishnan57
Replied to selvamganapathy1962 comment 1 year ago
Sir : 12% PF is deducted on Actual salary, not capped salary. But for Pension it is on capped figure. Somehow no one gave JD and EPFO also accepted pension from people with higher than capped salary, though they are supposed to be Excluded ones. So this is sort of ipso facto. But now I think they are only ratifying it with a JD with different capped amounts since they have to accept higher pension contribution and higher pension to pensioners. I presume, for Pension is to be calculated on higher salary they are taking this JD, though according to me it is not relevant.

Reason for sharing is many many people do not know what to do. And in the process lose out. If this helps, let it. I have dwelt deeper in calculation and found they calculate it wrong in the erstwhile FPS and even in current one, and got it corrected in my case. I have other topics which I have put for people to learn in U-tube. All to make people aware and be more informed.
DeepakG
Replied to prkrishnan57 comment 1 year ago
Hello PR Krishnan Sir, Kindly share the U tube link details
deepakgawde
Replied to prkrishnan57 comment 1 year ago
Hello Sir, could you please provide the U tube link details.
selvamganapathy1962
Replied to prkrishnan57 comment 1 year ago
Thank You Sir. As I understand from the above that a fresh JD needs to be given by the employee/pensioner and the employer which will be ratified by the EPFO. Is that right sir?
sundarbtw
Replied to selvamganapathy1962 comment 1 year ago
Yes. you can submit a fresh declaration can be signed stating that you have paid EPF at actual salary and willing to pay in the future also
kvsk
1 year ago
Mr PR Krishnan, thanks for sharing your understanding on enhanced pension. Would like to share with my colleagues.
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