Eligible employees who missed higher EPS pension option earlier can still apply: Latest EPFO circular

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If you have been a member of the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) from before August 31, 2014 — and continue to be one even now — you have another window to opt for a higher pension. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) issued a circular on February 20, 2023, with guidelines on how eligible employees who missed out from opting for higher pension under the EPS can now apply for it.Who are eligible employees as per Supreme Court judgment?
According to a Supreme Court judgment dated November 4, 2023, two categories of employees are eligible to opt for higher pension under the EPS:

  • The first category are employees who opted for higher pension before September 1, 2014, and made their contributions but their requests were rejected by the EPFO. These employees are likely to be retired today.
  • The second category are employees who were members of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) as on August 31, 2014, and missed the opportunity to opt for higher pension under EPS.

The EPFO has already issued a circular on December 29, 2022, for the first category of employees. The circular for the second category was awaited.

Do note that the last date to apply for higher pension under the EPS for both the categories of employees is March 3, 2023.

Also Read: EPFO issues guidelines for higher pension from EPS-95

How eligible employees can apply for higher pension
The circular dated February 20, 2023, has provided instructions to the regional EPF offices on how eligible employees can apply for higher pension from EPS. The manner in which such employees have to apply to the regional office concerned is as follows:

(i) The request will be made in such form and manner as specified by the commissioner
(ii)The joint option will contain a disclaimer and declaration as specified
(iii) In case of share requiring adjustment from Provident Fund to Pension Fund and if any re-deposit to the fund, explicitly consent of the employee will be given in the joint option form
iv) In case of transfer of funds from an exempted provident fund trust to pension fund of the EPFO, an undertaking of the trustee is required. It should state that due contribution along with interest up to the date of payment will be deposited within the specified period
v) In case of employees of unexempted establishments, the refund of the requisite employer’s share of the contribution will be deposited with interest at a rate declared under para 60 of the EPF Scheme, 1952, till the date of refund
vi) The method of deposit and that of computation of pension will come in a subsequent circular
vii) The joint option must contain a proof of remittance of the employer’s share in provident fund for wages exceeding the ceiling of Rs 5,000 or 6,500 (as the case maybe) and a proof of joint option under para 26 (6) of the EPF scheme duly verified by the employer.

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